Biomedical sciences are a set of applied sciences applying portions of natural science or formal science, or both, to knowledge, interventions, or technology that are of use in healthcare or public health. Such disciplines as medical microbiology, clinical virology, clinical epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, and biomedical engineering are medical sciences. In explaining physiological mechanisms operating in pathological processes, however, pathophysiology can be regarded as basic science.
Biomedical Sciences, as defined by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Benchmark Statement in 2015 includes those science disciplines whose primary focus is the biology of human health and disease and ranges from the generic study of biomedical sciences and human biology to more specialised subject areas such as pharmacology, human physiology and human nutrition. It is underpinned by relevant basic sciences including anatomy and physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics and molecular biology, immunology, mathematics and statistics, and bioinformatics. As such the biomedical sciences have a much wider range of academic and research activities and economic significance than that defined by hospital laboratory sciences. Biomedical Sciences are the major focus of bioscience research and funding in the 21st century. The Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences (HUCBMS) is a major representative body for biomedical sciences higher education and research. It was established in 1993 and has an international membership; its founders were Professor Terry Baker (Bradford), Professor Gerry McKenna (Ulster), Dr Ray Jones (Portsmouth) and John Clarke (Cardiff).
Biomedical Engineering (BME) or Medical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic). This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine, combining the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical biological sciences to advance health care treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. Also included under the scope of a biomedical engineer is the management of current medical equipment within hospitals while adhering to relevant industry standards. This involves equipment recommendations, procurement, routine testing and preventative maintenance, through to decommissioning and disposal. This role is also known as a Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET) or clinical engineering.
Biomedical engineering has recently emerged as its own study, as compared to many other engineering fields. Such an evolution is common as a new field transition from being an interdisciplinary specialization among already-established fields, to being considered a field in itself. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, spanning a broad array of subfields (see below). Prominent biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EKG/ECGs, regenerative tissue growth, pharmaceutical drugs and therapeutic biologicals.