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Professor Heinz Wolff to Celebrate 80th Birthday on 29th April 2008

The event also marks and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Brunel Institute for Bio-Engineering (BIB), which Prof. Wolff founded in 1983 and is currently headed by Prof. Ian Sutherland.

“This is a landmark occasion for both Heinz and Brunel's Institute for Bio-engineering. Heinz's passion and enthusiasm for the scientific education of young people has been a stimulus for many of today's leading scientists - from his work on television to his career in industry and academia, he has personally touched, challenged and inspired many,“ comments Prof. Chris Jenks, Brunel University's Vice Chancellor. “The Brunel Institute of Bio-Engineering, which Heinz founded, is an example of this, and under the leadership of Professor Ian Sutherland, has delivered groundbreaking, world class research that is providing very real benefits and improving people's lives.“

80th Birthday and 25th Anniversary Celebratory Event
Britain's first astronaut Helen Sharman will join Prof. Wolff's family, friends, associates and over 250 guests for the celebratory event for Prof. Wolff and BIB at Brunel University. Other attendees will include Chancellor Lord Wakeham, Pro-Chancellor Sir Robert Balchin, Vice Chancellor Chris Jenks as well as Honorary Brunel graduates and alumni.

Beginning at 4pm, there will be a conference with an invited audience, at which Professor Wolff will speak about his research and plans for the future, with presentations about the BIB's 25-year history as well as current and future research plans. This is followed at 6.30pm by a 1940's themed 'black and white' party, recognising Prof. Wolff's barcode research which is inspired by how newly born zebra foals recognise their mothers by their unique stripes. This research is giving elderly people and non-computer literate people access to the benefits of IT, by using a barcode reader as the only input device, removing the need for keyboards.

At 8.30pm, as the highlight to the night, there will be a fireworks display for all attendees and the public to enjoy in Crank Garden at the University.

Prof. Heinz Wolff
Famed for popularising science on UK television, Prof. Wolff presented hit BBC TV programmes such as The Great Egg Race, Young Scientists of the Year and Great Experiments Which Changed the World. Prof. Wolff is probably best known for inventing the term Bio-engineering in 1954 and has also been an honorary member of the European Space Agency in 1975, for which he was chair for the Advisory committee looking at the uses of micro-gravity for scientific research. He was also scientific director and co-founder of Project Juno, the private British-Soviet joint venture which sent Helen Sharman to the Mir space station, which saw Helen Sharman become Britain's first astronaut in 1991.

Brunel Institute for Bioengineering (BIB)
Founded in 1983 by Prof. Wolff, BIB is a multidisciplinary innovative research and development organisation, which is now closely aligned to the School of Engineering and Design. The current Director is Prof. Ian Sutherland, who heads a major bio-processing programme; Prof. Francis Moussy recently joined the Institute as Deputy Director. Working at the interface of medicine, biology and engineering, the Institute has developed from, initially, a renowned space research facility into an organisation that can respond professionally and quickly to clients' needs over a wide range of disciplines. It has a core staff of about thirty with a growing number of Ph.D. students with four major research areas: Bioprocess Engineering; Biosensors; Medical Engineering; and Rehabilitation Engineering.

Prof. Wolff retains a multi-purpose Laboratory, which is devoted to his research projects in the general area of Care in the Community and Prof. Moussy has dedicated biosensors research laboratories. The Institute also includes an Advanced Bioprocessing Centre, as well as laboratories for cardiovascular engineering. Other research projects conducted at BIB include design and development of new devices for spinal bracing and management of incontinence.

Prof. Wolff's Accolades
During his life, Prof. Wolff has also been director of the Division of Biological Engineering at the National Institute for Medical Research and of the Clinical Research Centre of the Medical Research Council and has received numerous Honorary Doctorates from Universities including the Open University (1993), De Montford University (1995), Middlesex University (1999) and Oxford Brookes University (1999), as well as Brunel University (2003). He also received a number of Fellowships including University College, London (1987) and Biological Engineering Society (1994), as well as made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (1999).

Prof. Wolff was given the Harding Award for 1989, awarded alternately by Action Research and RADAR. In 1992, he was the recipient of the Edinburgh Medal, awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution by a scientist to society.


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