- Associate Professor Jonathan Shaw - In 10 years’ time, our current model of medical research may be superseded by cross-disciplinary collaboration involving specialists from a number of fields outside the medical sector.
So what does an engineer know about medical science? As much as I know about engineering, I would imagine, which is next to nothing. However, engineers have skills and knowledge that might benefit medical research.
Until recently, people within a medical discipline were self-contained, not only with the knowledge they had, but the research they were conducting. There is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests that this is not the most efficient way to tackle all medical research, mainly because this expertise does not support ‘out of the box’ solutions.
When you apply a cross-disciplinary approach, you can often find a new angle to tackle very complex problems. A medical research team working on respiratory medicine might involve experts on metabolic disease. This is what is called a multi-disciplinary approach, as the fields are different, but stay within the boundaries of medical science. This is nothing particularly new.
But what happens when you throw a completely different field of knowledge into the mix? In other words, a trans-disciplinary tactic. What can a mathematician, physicist or engineer possible contribute to medical science?