Dr Peter Culmer
I am an Associate Professor in Healthcare Technologies, in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds. In my academic role, I’m passionate about using engineering science to address challenges in healthcare, and helping inspire the next generation of engineers to the same. I lead the Surgical Technologies research group, working closely with multidisciplinary teams encompassing researchers, clinicians and patients, bringing my own technical expertise in mechatronics and robotics.
Community: I believe in supporting and growing the medical engineering community. I serve as engineering representative to the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Surgical MedTech Cooperative where I work closely with healthcare professionals and industry partners on the development of medical devices. I am a board member of the IMechE Biomedical Engineering Division (BmED) where I coordinate the two-yearly IMechE ‘Incontinence: Engineering Challenge’ conference and the regional Leeds BmED centre.
My career has been shaped by a medical engineering PhD in which I developed the control system for a stroke rehabilitation robot. Working with an inspiring group of engineers, healthcare professionals and patients to develop and evaluate the iPAM system founded my passion for working in healthcare technologies. I was subsequently awarded a ‘Senior Translational Research Fellowship’ in Surgical Technologies in 2010, working to develop our multidisciplinary research group. I then progressed to my current academic role in 2015 where I have worked to develop my research and link this with my teaching and professional responsibilities.
- Student Summer Internships Lead
- Robotics@Leeds – Mechanical Engineering Representative
My research interests are developing and applying technology to improve healthcare.
My technical focus is mechatronics systems for measurement and analysis of the human body, with application to medical applications including minimally invasive surgery, diabetic foot health and joint implants.
I have developed a growing interest in Global Health – working with the NIHR Global Health Research Group to help develop equitable access to modern healthcare. I bring both technical expertise and experience in using frugal and participatory design – using these approaches to work closely with industry, medical professionals and patients to find solutions that work in low-resource environments.
Key priorities for my research are:
- Load sensing for healthcare: I develop sensing technology that can be applied to monitor loading in different healthcare applications
- Measurement systems for foot health: I develop measurement systems to record foot loading and identify health conditions like diabetic foot ulcers
- Instrumentation for Global Surgery: I lead a multinational interdisciplinary team developing novel medical equipment for minimally invasive surgery in low resource areas (e.g. rural India)
My research has been recognised for its innovative approach and translation to industry adoption, supported by a range of funding sources including EPSRC, MRC, NIHR and the Leverhulme Trust. Notable examples of my research projects include sensors for assessment of diabetic foot ulceration (PI, EPSRC’s Engineering for a Prosperous Nation for next-generation research advances), new laparoscopic instrumentation (NIHR i4i) and leading the EPSRC-MRC IMPRESS network to address incontinence challenges through engineering. Through the NIHR Global Surgery Programme I have led a multinational interdisciplinary team developing novel medical equipment for low-resource surgery, currently working toward clinical evaluation.
- MEng Mechatronics, University of Leeds
- PhD Control scheme for the iPAM upper limb rehabilitation robot, University of Leeds
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Member IMechE
Taught Modules: I lead and contribute to modules including Computing for Engineers, Biomechanics, Robotics and Biomechatronics.
Projects: Each year I supervise a range of individual and team student projects. My projects are typically biomedical and have helped initiate and progress collaborative research. Notable examples have even received awards, press coverage and student trips to international conferences.
Internships: I have developed, and manage, our undergraduate Summer Internship Program in the School of Mechanical Engineering – an opportunity for students to enhance their CV by building skills in research, project management and to contribute to enhancements in Learning and Teaching.
Research groups and institutes
- Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation