The goal of this work is to promote a FUTURE (Furthering University of Tennessee Undergraduate Research Education) for Team-Based Design in Biomedical Engineering and achieve the intended purpose of the R25 program. The proposed program addresses an important research education problem where a gap exists between the education of biomedical engineers and their roles in the engineering workforce. A capstone design course enables senior biomedical engineering students to design complete biomedical innovations and is arguably the most important course these students will take. This course is the last bridge between theory- based education and the problem-solving reality of the engineering profession. In the proposed program, a combination of student teams, clinical environment, and open-ended biomedical design projects will be used to address three specific aims. First, a critical barrier to progress in the biomedical engineering field will be addressed. The undergraduate education of future generations of biomedical engineers will fundamentally change the concepts, methods, technologies, and treatments that drive the biomedical engineering field. Team-based open-ended biomedical design projects will be used to better prepare undergraduate biomedical engineering students for innovative device development. For the second aim, current paradigms in undergraduate biomedical engineering education will be shifted. Undergraduate engineering education traditionally involves theory-based courses. However, the engineering profession is inherently a problem-solving business. Four innovative course characteristics will be used to shift current paradigms as follows: 1) students will deal with open-ended design problems rather than close-ended homework and exam problems; 2) multiple possible solutions will be permitted rather than a single analytical one; 3) students will work in teams rather than individually; and 4) several design project advisors will be available rather than a single course instructor. For the third specific aim, the process of solving clinicaly- based problems using novel engineering designs will be taught. Undergraduate engineering students lack the experience in a work environment directly concerned with the health of patients. Multiple research environments, including a Graduate School of Medicine, will be used to provide trainees with appropriate experience to prepare them for similar projects in their future careers. The proposed program will advance research education objectives relevant to priorities of the participating agency institutes. Participants will gain systematic knowledge of te design process organized by general principles and life cycle phases of biomedical innovations. This process will give participants the opportunity to evaluate and ensure innovations suit functionality and performance requirements. In addition, participants will gain experience in an environment directly concerned with patient health. Hence, the proposed program will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and clinical practice in biomedical engineering.
The proposed research education program will foster undergraduate biomedical engineering students to build upon their theoretical knowledge and develop multidisciplinary team-based problem-solving skills for careers related to public health. Program participants - future generations of biomedical engineers - will be better prepared to pursue careers creatively involved in problem solving and the design of solutions for the health care of the future.