HIA - Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering of the RWTH Aachen



Personalized biomedical technology in diagnostics, therapy, and applied life sciences

Research Goals

Since its foundation the Helmholtz-Institute Aachen has served as bridge between the natural science and engineering faculties and the medical disciplines at RWTH. Within the Medicine and Technology profile area at RWTH Aachen, which has a network of over 50 active institutes and research fields with activities in biomedical technology at RWTH Aachen, the HIA plays a crucial coordinating and catalyzing role. Insofar, the HIA is a prototype of RWTH Aachen's current I3 institute concept. Furthermore, however, it is an inter-institutional work community in research and teaching that has coordinated and represented active and internationally networked biomedical research and teaching for over 40 years.

In the past years a number of spin-off companies of the HIA have originated with over 600 jobs in the Aachen region. Furthermore, HIA professorships coordinate significant and current initiatives within RWTH Aachen's profile area Medicine and Technology (including I3TM Biohybrid Systems and the construction of the new RWTH Center for Biohybrid Medical Systems (CBMS)).

The HIA's research and development focus is personalized biomedical technology. In 2017, over 200 academic and about 40 non-academic staff were involved in over 149 research projects at the HIA's seven chairs. Over eleven million Euros in external funding (as of 2017) are acquired and spent by the HIA's collaborative professorships each year in external funding projects with national and international interdisciplinary collaborations with departments, industry, and research.

Professorships Involved

Today the HIA unifies seven chairs in the following four faculties:

Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Natural Sciences - Faculty 1

Biomaterials Laboratory
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer nat. Lothar Elling

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering - Faculty 4

Chair of Medical Engineering
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Radermacher

Faculty of Electrical Engineerig and Information Technology - Faculty 6

Chair of Medical Information Technology
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. med. Steffen Leonhardt

Faculty of Medicine - Faculty 10

Institute of Applied Medical Engineering
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Schmitz-Rode

Chair of Experimental Molecular Imaging
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Fabian Kiessling

Biointerface Laboratory
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Wilhelm Jahnen-Dechent

Chair of Cell Biology,
Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Zenke

Existing Infrastructure

  • Zentral mechanical workshop
  • Electronic workshops
  • Special biomedical engineering laboratories for gait analysis, usability analyses, medical shockwaves, multimodal imaging modalities (2D-/3D x-ray and ultrasound imaging, BIS…,small animal imaging, MIR, PET,…)
  • Special laboratories for diverse cardiovascular analysis technology (endurance tests for blood pumps and heart valves, material testing lab, bio- and hemocompatability testing labs, fluid testing and simulation labs)
  • Special wet science laboratories (including S1 and S2) for diverse biochemical, cellular, and molecular biological investigations


In 2017, over 149 research projects in national and international collaborations with departments, the industry, and research, with more than 16,5 million Euros of research funding.

Additional information available at HIA


Chair and speaker of the board of directors (2017-2020 term of office):

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Wilhelm Jahnen-Dechent
Biointerface Laboratory


Helmholtz-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik der RWTH Aachen