Bioengineering Research Group
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John Crowe

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering



After leaving Alcester Grammar School in rural Warwickshire I studied Physics at the University of Southampton, graduating in 1980. Having always been interested in the physical life/science interface I then spent 5 years in the Bioengineering Unit within Oxford University's Department of Paediatrics, based in the John Radcliffe Hospital. My research during that period included the optical monitoring of physiological variables that was the subject of my DPhil.

In 1985 I moved to the School of Physics and Astronomy at (the former) Lancashire Polytechnic. In 1987 I came to Nottingham to join the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering - where I have remained.

More information about me and my research can be found at my home webpage.

John Crowe is part of the Bioengineering Research Group.

Expertise Summary

My research lies firmly at the physical / life science interface. This includes the development of new instrumentation for physiological monitoring as well as investigating cellular activity and form .

Previously our group has demonstrated that monitoring fetal heart rate during the antenatal period is feasible and an antenatal fetal heart rate monitor is now available from the university spin out company With this instrument we were winners of the Bioscience category of the Research Council's 2004 Business Plan Competition. We have also used this technology to gain a unique understanding of how Doppler ultrasound based fetal monitors work; and using data collected with this technique, and the application of fractal based signal processing tools, we believe we have 'observed' a change in the 'wiring' of the fetal brain at around 24 weeks gestation. (This ties in with other known measures of fetal maturation.)

My work in biomedical optics involves investigating how to perform quantitative spectroscopy on scattering media. The main application of this is the development of novel oximeters. I am also involved in the design of new forms of laser Doppler blow flow meters. This includes blood flow imagers using custom designed integrated circuits containing both photodetectors and the necessary signal processing.

Other projects are the production of an optical heart rate sensor for use on newborn infants requiring resuscitation; and investigating the possibility of monitoring the 'activity signature' (that includes using mobile phones as a sensor, logger and communication device) of people with bipolar disorder with a view to assisting the self assessment of their condition. This work has led to my current involvement in the National Institute of Health Research's (NIHR) Health Technology Cooperative (HTC) in mental health, MindTech.

I was also participated in in two large EPSRC projects: MATCH which concerned the development of 'tools' (often software based) for use in Health Technology Assessment; and remedi : Regenerative Medicine, A New Industry, where my input was in the sensing and characterisation of regenerative medicine products. Work in this area continues via the development of a total internal reflection microscope (TIRM) that is capable of monitoring cell attachment.

Teaching Summary

Current teaching:

  • Business Planning for Engineers H63BPE
  • Biomedical Optics H64BMO

Research Summary

Paediatric Continuous Early Warning System (PaedCEW) - MRC DPFS Control of plant growth via tailored LED lighting - TSB Monitoring of workers in hazardous environments - TSB Heart rate… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

  • Paediatric Continuous Early Warning System (PaedCEW) - MRC DPFS
  • Control of plant growth via tailored LED lighting - TSB
  • Monitoring of workers in hazardous environments - TSB
  • Heart rate monitoring of newborns - EPSRC via IAA
  • MindTech - technologies for monitoring the mentally ill - NIHR HTC
  • TIRM for monitoring cell adhesion and behaviour - EPSRC

Past Research

See personal web page

Future Research

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD candidates from Home, EU and international countries who are interested in the following research areas: Biomedical Engineering; Biomedical Signal Processing; Biomedical Optics.

Bioengineering Research Group

The University of Nottingham
B107 Coates University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD UK

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 66375