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Staff Profile: Prof P N T Wells


Prof Peter N T Wells



Distinguished Research Professor


Research Theme:

Health, Security and the Digital World


Research Group:

Biomedical Engineering Research Group



Room W/2.40 Newport Road



+44 (0)29 2087 4154 (direct line)





Clifton College; Aston University; Bristol University

BSc (Electrical Engineering, Aston, 1958), MSc (Physics, Bristol, 1963), PhD (Zoology, Bristol, 1966), DSc (Bristol, 1978), DTech honoris causa (Lund, 1997), MD honoris causa (Erasmus, Rotterdam, 1998), DSc honoris causa (Aston, 2010)

British societies with postnominals

CEng, CPhys, CSci, Chartered Clinical Scientist

Commander of the Order of the British Empire; Fellow of the Royal Society; Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales; Honorary Fellow, British Institute of Radiology, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, Royal College of Radiologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine, International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound; Honorary Life Member, World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology; Honorary Member, British Medical Ultrasound Society, Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine, Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine; Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine, International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Scholarships, prizes and medals
Silvanus Thompson Scholar, Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1959-60; Founders’ Prize, Hospital Physicists’ Association, 1971; Achievement Medal, Institution of Electrical Engineers (now Institution of Engineering and Technology), 1993; Ian Donald Medal for Technical Merit, International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1998; EFOMP Medal, European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics, 2001; Duddell Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics, 2006; NHS Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007.

Research Assistant (Medical Research Council grants), United Bristol Hospitals, 1960-1971; Professor of Medical Physics, Welsh National School of Medicine (now Cardiff University School of Medicine), 1972-74; Chief Physicist, United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust (formerly Avon Area Health Authority (Teaching), Bristol Health District (Teaching), Bristol and Weston Health Authority), 1975-00; General Manager, Medical Sciences (Departments of Medical Physics, Pathology, Pharmacy and Radiology), Bristol and Weston Health Authority, 1985-89; Honorary Professor in Clinical Radiology, University of Bristol, 1986-00; General Manager, Dental Hospital, Eye Hospital, Medical Physics, Oncology Centre, Bristol and Weston Health Authority, 1989; Clinical Director, Specialty Services, United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust (formerly Bristol and Weston Health Authority), 1990-00; Associate Medical Director for Research and Development, United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, 1996-99; Director, Centre for Physics and Engineering Research in Medicine, University of Bristol, 1996-01; Professor of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, University of Bristol, 2000-01; Emeritus Professor of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, University of Bristol, 2001-; Non-Executive Director, Weston Area Health NHS Trust, 2001-04; Consultant, Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, 2001-05; Visiting Professor, Imperial College London, 2002-; Distinguished Research Professor and Senior Scientific Director, Institute of Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, School of Engineering, Cardiff University, 2004-; Visiting Professor, Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, University College London, 2011-

Measurement of ultrasound and ultrasonic treatment of Meniere's disease, 1960-63; biological effects of ultrasound, development of two-dimensional ultrasonic static scanner, water immersion breast scanner and time-position echocardiograph, clinical studies and standardisation of ultrasonic systems, 1963-68; development of ultrasonic pulsed Doppler technique and analysis of pulse-echo signals for tissue characterisation, 1968-73; assessment of biological effects and safety of ultrasound, development of arrays, signal processing and data display, techniques for Doppler signal analysis and studies of Doppler signals from malignant tumours, 1973-80; studies of acoustic speckle in images, continuation of development of techniques for analysing Doppler signals from arteries and tumours, development of infrared and light transmission imaging, electrical impedance imaging and studies of the effect of speckle on ultrasonic Doppler signals, 1980-85; continuation of studies of infrared and light transmission through tissues, development of high-resolution ultrasonic imaging and advanced Doppler systems, 1985-92; development of confocal infrared and ultrasonic microscopy, studies on ultrasonically-guided surgery, development of telepresence and robotic systems, three-dimensional studies of blood flow, 1992-98; ultrasonic microscanning, ultrasonic Doppler tomography, high frequency ultrasonic propagation in tissue, image fusion, 1999-2004; ultrasonic breast scanning, continuous wave ultrasonic Doppler tomography, microbubble contrast agents, thermal strain imaging, 2004-.

Professional activities
President, British Medical Ultrasound Group (now British Medical Ultrasound Society), 1973-74; Consultant, National Science Foundation of the USA, 1973-79; Chief Scientist's Advisor, Department of Health and Social Security (now Department of Health), 1983-88; Chairman, Scientific Committee, South Western Regional Health Authority (subsequently NHS Executive, South West), 1984-88; President, British Institute of Radiology, 1985-86; Member, Cell Biology and Disorders Board, Medical Research Council, 1986-90; Vice-President, World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 1988-91; Member, Medical Engineering and Sensors Committee, Science and Engineering Research Council (now Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), 1988-91; Member, Standing Committee for Engineering, Royal Academy of Engineering, 1991-94; Member, Central Research and Development Committee for the NHS, 1991-94; Editor-in-Chief, Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 1992-06 (Emeritus, 2007-); Member, Medical Engineering College, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 1994-00; Special Trustee for the United Bristol Hospitals, 1994-99 (Chairman, 1998-99); President, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (formerly Institution of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and Biology), 1995-97; Member, UK Focus for Biomedical Engineering, Royal Academy of Engineering, 1995-04 (Vice-Chairman, 1995-2001; Chairman, 2001-04); Member, Standing Committee for Education and Training, Royal Academy of Engineering, 1997-00; Chairman, Science in Health Group, Science Council, 2000-04; Member, Peer Review College, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 2000-; Member, Proactive Membership Group, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2000-07; Member of Council, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2001-04; Chairman, Radiology and Oncology Congresses Board, 2001-04; Member, Standing Committee for Engineering Policy, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2003-04; Member, Awards Committee, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2003-06; Member, Finance and Audit Committee, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2004-07; Chairman, Working Group on the Impact of ICT on Health and Healthcare, Royal Society, 2005-06; Member, Sectional Committee 4, Royal Society, 2006-09; Member, Sectional Committee 1, Academy of Medical Sciences, 2007-10; Member, Panel 4, Newton International Fellowships, 2008; Member, Research Appointment Panel A(ii), Royal Society, 2008-; Member, Paul Instrument Fund Selection Panel, Royal Society, 2010-; Member, Research Grants Panel R1, Royal Society, 2010-; Member, Research Fellowships Assessment Panel, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2010-; editorial appointments to 22 journals; referee for