Glossary of Terms



  • Biocompatibility

    A measure of how a biomaterial interacts in the body with the surrounding cells, tissues and other factors. A biomaterial is considered to have good biocompatibility if it does not generate a vigorous immune response, resists build-up of proteins and other substances on its surface that would hinder its function, and is resistant to infection.
  • Bioengineering

    The application of concepts and methods of engineering, biology, medicine, physiology, physics, materials science, chemistry, mathematics and computer sciences to develop methods and technologies to solve health problems in humans.
  • Bioinformatics

    The branch of biology that is concerned with the acquisition, storage, display and analysis of biological information. Analysis of biological information includes statistical and computational methods to model biological processes.
  • Biomaterial

    Any matter, surface, or construct that interacts with biological systems. Biomaterials can be derived from nature or synthesized in the laboratory using metallic components, polymers , ceramics, or composite materials. Medical devices made of biomaterials are often used to replace or augment a natural function. Examples include heart valves, hip replacements, and materials used regularly in dentistry and surgery.
  • Biomedical Imaging

    The science and the branch of medicine concerned with the development and use of imaging devices and techniques to obtain internal anatomic images and to provide biochemical and physiological analysis of tissues and organs.
  • Biomimetics

    Using biological form and function seen in nature to inspire the design of solutions to engineering problems.
  • Bioreactor

    A manufactured or engineered device that provides an environment that supports biological processes. Many bioreactors are used to grow cells or tissues for use in tissue engineering.
  • Biosensors

    A device that uses biological material, such as DNA, enzymes and antibodies, to detect specific biological, chemical, or physical processes and then transmits or reports this data.
  • Blood-brain barrier

    A highly selective, semi-impermeable boundary that divides the brain from the rest of the body. It allows the passage of vital molecules through specialized transport proteins and diffusion mechanisms.
  • Brachytherapy

    A form of radiation therapy in which one or more small radioactive sources is placed in or adjacent to an area requiring treatment. The dose rate and longevity of the radiation source is chosen to reflect the treatment plan and whether the radioactive material is left in place temporarily or permanently. A key feature of brachytherapy is that the radiation affects only a very localized area around the radiation source. Brachytherapy is commonly used to treat prostate, cervical and breast cancers.
  • Brain-Computer Interface

    A system that uses the brain’s electrical signals to allow individuals with limited mobility to learn to use their thoughts to move a computer cursor or other devices like a robotic arm or a wheelchair.