This proposal describes a program in team-based design of biomedical engineering devices, dedicated to training undergraduate students. Students will participate in specialized courses in biomedical instrumentation, clinical rotation, and translational biomedical engineering. Five students will be selected to engage in a clinical immersion in the summer between the junior and senior years. The students'knowledge and experience will feed into a senior capstone design course, where they will perform open-ended design and fabricate a prototype medical device. A major goal of this research education program is to meet the demands of a growing biomedical engineering field and needs for an interdisciplinary workforce. The University of Arizona is well positioned to provide this research education program due to a strong history of biomedical engineering research, close ties (and physical proximity) between the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine, abundant resources for design and prototyping, and a strong existing interdisciplinary senior capstone design course. A graduate interdisciplinary program in biomedical engineering has served for the last 12 years as a nexus for faculty across campus who engage in biomedical engineering- related research and education, including a group of physician faculty who are committed to engineering student mentoring. The formation in the last year of a department of Biomedical Engineering and authorization of an undergraduate degree program has put into place the final pieces needed for the success of this program. Because of the relative newness of our undergraduate program, the resources from the proposed project would have a major positive impact on our students. We propose to augment BME courses with new educational material and guest speakers, provide a unique clinical immersion experience, and provide additional mentors and supply funds to students the interdisciplinary design course. This program will enable us to educate the biomedical engineers of the future, who have strong engineering design skills, knowledge of the clinical environment, and training in translational biomedical engineering that will enable them to take their devices from the laboratory to the clinic and the marketplace, positively affecting human health.
Based on Labor Department job growth projections, Biomedical engineering will lead employment growth in the next 10 years. Biomedical engineers with strong team-based design skills are needed to further medical innovation and create new medical devices. We propose an undergraduate research education plan that will educate students in the clinical environment, design process, regulatory requirements, and responsible conduct of research, culminating in a senior capstone design project.