UC Berkeley's Department of Bioengineering (BioE) has identified a compelling societal need to educate the next cadre of Berkeley's bioengineers in the challenging area of medical technology. Owing to recent course and program development, the timing is right for a substantial and scalable positive training impact on UC Berkeley's graduating bioengineers and, more broadly, the US. We propose to enhance and significantly extend an existing (new) core project-based course and engage our graduating seniors in both a pre-course 'Clinical Immersion'and post-course 'Translational Immersion'periods. The proposed combined didactic and experiential training will provide a comprehensive introduction to innovating in the arena of translational medicine -- with the aim of supplementing theoretical knowledge with hands-on clincial work. We leverage an existing project-based course as the kernel for a educational program that will expose senior bioengineering undergraduates to translational medicine through newly proposed (a) pre-course (summer) 'Clinical Immersion'periods to identify unmet clinical needs at UC San Francisco Medical Centers, (b) enhanced team-project opportunities and mentors during an expanded senior design project course with UCSF clinical 'clients', and (c) a post-project 'Translational Immersion'semester in which students use their newly acquired engineering design skills &appreciation for translational challenges to engage a spectrum of clinical experts &industry leaders to understand the role of engineering in medicine. Through the R25, we will train undergraduates to understand, engage in, and lead medical technology innovation through three Specific Aims: 1) Challenge our students to identify and define biomedical problems to achieve meaningful bioengineering solutions, 2) Introduce engineering design approaches using open-ended biomedical problems, while fostering an environment in which interdisciplinary and team-based innovation are promoted &encouraged, 3) Provide a protected training period during which our students innovate around open biomedical problems through invention, prototyping, and testing of new technologies, diagnostics, and therapies which meet a true clinical need in consultation with clinical and business leaders.
Increasing the number of new bioengineers with didactic &experiential training in translational medicine will increase and improve needs-centered innovation in medicine. Engineering students face challenges in translational medicine training, namely in gaining clinical experience and mentoring. In collaboration with UCSF and surrounding medical programs, UC Berkeley's proposed R25 will introduce a 'translational training'pipeline program in the culminating year of the BioE B.S. curriculum.
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