Physiology-Driven Signal Analysis and Data Fusion

Friday, October 26, 2012 -
2:00pm to 2:15pm
Fung Auditorium | Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Lionel Tarassenko CBE, FREng

Professor, Electrical Engineering
Director, Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Univeristy of Oxford

Physiology-Driven Signal Analysis and Data Fusion


Safety-critical systems such as jet engines are continuously monitored in flight to identify the extremely rare occasions on which departures from expected behaviour occur. Yet most acutely ill patients in hospital outside intensive care are not monitored continuously. Why should this be the case? The challenges are enormous: the heterogeneity of the patient population, the costs of patient monitors, the high prevalence of false alerts caused by noise and artefact and the human factors associated with patients and observers. We will show in this lecture how physiology-driven analysis of the vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and temperature), as they are recorded in today’s hospital, can reliably identify clinically significant changes in patient status. We will describe how the combination of novel monitoring technology and data fusion informed by knowledge of physiology (for example, the expected trajectory of recovery following surgery) may lead within the decade to the same type of total-care packages for patients as for jet engines.


Professor Tarassenko gained the degrees of BA in Engineering Science in 1978, and DPhil in Medical Engineering in 1985, both from the University of Oxford. He then held a number of positions in academia and industry, before taking up a University Lecturership (Associate Professorship) in Oxford in 1988. Since then, he has devoted most of his research effort to the development of signal processing techniques and their application to diagnostic systems, for patient and jet engine monitoring.

He has been the holder of the Chair in Electrical Engineering at Oxford University since October 1997. He was elected to a Fellowship of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in 1996, when he was also awarded the IEE Mather Premium for his work on neural networks, and to a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2000. He received a British Computer Society Medal in 1996 for his work on neural network analysis of sleep disorders. His research on jet engine health monitoring was awarded the Rolls-Royce Chairman's Award for Technical Innovation in 2001 and the Sir Henry Royce High Value Patent Award in 2008. His work on mobile phones for healthcare was highly commended at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards in 2003 and was awarded the E-health 2005 Innovation Award for “best device to empower patients”. He was awarded the 2006 Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his contribution to British engineering leading to market exploitation and he won the Institute of Engineering & Technology IT Award in the same year.

Professor Tarassenko is the author of 140 journal papers, 150 conference papers, 3 books and 24 granted patents. He was a founder director of Third Phase (now sold to Cmed) in 1999, of Oxford BioSignals in 2000 and of t+ Medical in 2002. He is the Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Panel on Biomedical Engineering. He has been the Director of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering since 2008, and the Director of the Centre of Excellence in Medical Engineering funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council since October 2009. In January 2012, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to engineering.