Dawn Elliott, director of UD's biomedical engineering program, addresses the May 22 symposium.

Biomedical collaborations

Inaugural UD biomedical engineering symposium focuses on collaboration

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9:55 a.m., June 4, 2012--Biomedical engineering is a cross-disciplinary field that blurs the boundaries between engineering and medicine to improve human health. It involves analyzing and solving emerging, complex biological and medical problems as well as dedication to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and quality of life for patients.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineering is the fastest growing occupation, with jobs in the field expected to grow by 72 percent over the next decade.

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More than 110 students and faculty affiliated with the University of Delaware’s biomedical engineering (BME) program gathered at the Embassy Suites in Newark, Del., on May 22 for the program’s inaugural symposium to learn how this dynamic field is evolving.

Opening remarks were delivered by Mark Barteau, senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives; Babatunde Ogunnaike, interim dean of the College of Engineering; and Dawn Elliott, director of the biomedical engineering program.

“Biomedical engineering is a significant part of the University’s Path to Prominence. Under Dawn Elliott’s leadership, this symposium heralds the next phase in the program’s evolution—crystallizing and consolidating all the disparate bioengineering efforts across campus and acting as a catalyst for cross-departmental and cross-college collaborations,” said Ogunnaike.

Twenty-nine faculty affiliated with the program showcased their research and collaborations in an array of biomedical fields including biomedical computing, bioelectronics, biomolecular engineering, cellular engineering, biomechanics and neuroengineering.

Although the program is new, Elliott was quick to remind attendees that there is already a strong biomedical engineering research presence already in place at UD.

“It is an exciting time.  Building on the strong existing foundation, we are creating new collaborations, reaching out to clinical partners and designing the future educational and research programs that will help shape this growing field at UD, in Delaware and around the world,” said Elliott.

No. 1 college major

In May, Forbes magazine named biomedical engineering the “Most Valuable College Major” based on starting salary, salary growth and job opportunities. 

UD’s undergraduate BME program, which recently completed its second year, has quickly developed a strong foothold on campus and remains hugely popular with students.

Next fall, 50 new freshman undergraduates will join 110 rising sophomore and juniors already in the program. The average high school grade point average for these newly admitted students is 3.94, while SAT scores average 1939. Additionally, 42 percent of those admitted to the freshman class are honors students.

Moreover, the program will welcome five graduate students to its new doctoral program, approved by the University’s Faculty Senate in February.

“We are particularly excited that our program includes over 40 percent women and 20 percent minority representation – diversity not often achieved in engineering,” Elliott said.

Photos by Evan Krape

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