Launching the future of biomedical engineering education

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UM Dean of Engineering David Puleo (left to right), Biomedical Engineering Department Chairman Dwight Waddell, Chancellor Glenn Boyce and Provost Noel Wilkin cut a ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new department of Biomedical Engineering at Brevard Hall. Photo by Shea Stewart / Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi unveiled its sparkling new expansion in biomedical engineering that will better prepare students for careers in a pioneering field that combines technology and medicine.

The approximately 6,500 square foot space on the third floor of Brevard Hall will also help foster innovative research and advance technological and economic development in Mississippi, the region and the country, campus leaders said. .

“We have the first Department of Biomedical Engineering in the state of Mississippi, and this program will grow tremendously over the next few years and beyond, ”Chancellor Glenn Boyce said at the ceremony on November 19.

“What you see today is the beginning. What you are going to see in five or ten years is going to be extraordinary. I know we have students and graduates who are going to become exceptional in the field.

“When we start our medical device research and fire up our own devices, we will have businesses and companies that want to come and see us and visit us. This is what we want to make sure it happens for the state of Mississippi and certainly for the reputation of this program.

Established in November 2016, the department has thrived, welcoming its inaugural class in fall 2017 and celebrating its first promotion from first to second year in May 2021. The program is the third largest department in the School of Engineering , with over 60% of its undergraduate students being women and almost half are enrolled in Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

UM’s dean of engineering, David Puleo, chats with visitors to the new expansion of the biomedical engineering department following a groundbreaking ceremony for the space. Photo by Shea Stewart / Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

About 130 students are enrolled in the program, where students choose a path of study in biomolecular engineering, biomedical systems or bioinformatics.

Over the past year, faculty in the department have also generated over $ 1.5 million in research funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer. Society.

“Biomedical engineering and this newly renovated space is where students can get their hands on things,” said Dwight Waddell, associate professor and president of biomedical engineering. “Hands-on engineering is the best dress rehearsal because so much of what we ask students to do in a lab is how and what they’re going to do for their job. “

The new space includes an Active Learning Room, an IT-rich environment that allows students to collaborate when tackling real-world issues.

The space also includes an innovation lab and a manufacturing lab, both of which include high-end industrial equipment such as computer-guided laser cutters, advanced 3D printers, and a mechanical test system that mimics the observed loads. in a real-time environment.

“It’s basically a machine that pulls, pushes or twists things,” Waddell said. “In a way, it breaks things and it teaches young people that when you build something and it is subjected to forces, it will eventually wear out and fail. It shows how and where this happens, and how we can better understand the process. “

While the simple definition of biomedical engineering is the meeting of technology with medicine, Waddell said it is a bigger and bigger field than people realize.

Members of the 2021 class pursue careers in biomedical industries such as medical device design, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical research and sales, while others have entered medical, dental, legal, and graduate schools to further study. their knowledge and enrich their experiences Ole Miss.

Dwight Waddell, Associate Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, speaks at the inauguration of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering at Brevard Hall. Photo by Shea Stewart / Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

“What we’re doing is creating a very useful tool bag for a youngster to carry,” said Waddell. “And at this point, they can sell their wares anywhere anyone finds a use for the tool.”

The new space will only increase the department’s opportunities for students and provide them with the knowledge to explore and develop their interests in biomedical engineering, said David Puleo, dean of the Engineering school and professor of biomedical engineering.

“The renovated space allows biomedical engineering students to work individually and as a team to understand and then design solutions that improve human health,” said Puleo, who was recently inducted as a member of the National Academy of Inventors. “The labs provide advanced instrumentation for students to learn by doing, whether it’s taking physiological measurements, developing new devices, or 3D printing implants. “

The expansion of biomedical engineering is just one area where the university is pushing the boundaries of student education, faculty research and economic development, said UM president Noel Wilkin.

“Dr. Dwight Waddell was optimistic about the possibility of creating a program that would be in demand, attracting amazing faculty, garnering support from the university and making a difference,” Wilkin said. Waddell and Dean Puleo put emphasis on this space, and with the hard work of faculty and staff, and the partnership with the university, we are ahead of it today.

“This space is a beacon of optimism, not only within the School of Engineering, but throughout our university. It is the belief that we can make a difference, and it will matter to the world. “


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