The overall goal of this Project is to enhance the senior design program at Drexel by sharpening the focus on translational design solutions and facilitating the achievement of completed designs with working prototypes. The proposed enhancements leverage the existence of an active program for the support of translational research supported by the Coulter Translational Partners program. The goal is to transform senior design projects from academic exercises to the development of design solutions to unmet clinical needs by matching students with clinical and engineering investigators who are actively developing and commercializing biomedical technologies.
Three Specific Aims were developed to meet these objectives.
Specific Aim 1 is to enhance the design program through vertical integration of Junior and Senior level design teams. Junior design teams will be matched with a senior design team and interact with them throughout the Junior Design course. The Senior Design team will make periodic presentations and reports, and the Junior Design group will critique them and provide feedback. The junior team will be responsible for completing a competitive technology analysis through patent and business database searches, and drafting a report. The involvement of students in the junior year with real, ongoing projects will enhance their understanding of the design process in ways that cannot be simulated by the didactic components of the current course.
Specific Aim 2 is to create a new 'Translational Design Clinical Immersion Co-op."""""""" Selected participants will, in their junior year, complete a 10 week clinical rotation with the Clinical co-PI of a Coulter translational project. They will get fist-hand experience of the clinical environment and how it affects the design solution, identify clinical needs for new design solutions, and develop an understanding of the design constraints imposed by the environment in which the design will be used. Following this clinical experience, the students will complete a 10 week design lab co- op in the lab of the Biomedical Engineering co-PI of the Coulter project. They will develop the initial designs for the newly identified applications or participate in the design validation and refinement of an existing solution and recruit a multidisciplinary team to carry out the design. The Clinical co-PI will be involved in advising the team throughout this two-year process.
Specific Aim 3 Is to improve Senior Design outcomes by providing resources that facilitate prototyping and testing and, thus, allowing more iterations in the design process. We will provide computational tools for design, funding for materials and supplies and funding and training for advanced prototyping techniques. We have developed a system to evaluate student learning outcomes and provide instructors with feedback on the content and its delivery from the students'perspective. This system assigns objectives (selected by the instructor in accordance with ABET criteria) to a class and evaluates students on these objectives before the beginning of each class and at its conclusion. It tracks changes in response to comments and success of implementing any changes.
The proposed research education program is a critical and substantial enhancement of an existing undergraduate design program in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University. The proposed enhancements of the Design program seek to expand the culture of translational research to the undergraduate program and to provide the resources necessary for successful completion of clinical prototypes. If successful, we will be producing a new generation of design engineers with the clinical perspective needed to effectively address the clinical need and the awareness of the economic considerations needed to successfully commercialize their technology such that it can become available to the patients who need it.