The long-term goal of this Biotransport Education workshop is to improve biotransport education. A survey conducted by Biotransport committee of ASME Bioengineering Division (BED) in year 2002 revealed that a) biotransport is being taught at a rapidly increasing number of institutions; b) in many cases it is being offered in the context of a basic course in transport fundamentals, rather than as a special or advanced application of transport; c) there is a long standing paucity of learning materials, especially those that treat bioheat transfer; and d) the ASME BED provides the primary venue for organizing biotransport faculty for possible collaborative efforts and for develop educational materials. The absence of a textbook on biotransport has hindered academic instruction and student learning of this important subject. Thus, there is a need for comprehensive courses related to Biotransport Education that can be offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The objective of this Biotransport Education workshop, to be conducting during the 2011 and 2012 ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference (SBC), is to broadly disseminate successfully proven methods for teaching this interdisciplinary topic to students at the undergraduate and graduate level. The hypothesis is that such workshop is an effective platform for efficient exchange of teaching ideas between diverse institutions involving complex topics of biotransport. To address the hypothesis the three specific agendas are to: (1) Pre-conference agenda: We will develop a repository of biotransport course syllabi from top universities around the world. We will invite experts in the field of biotransport who have taught graduate and undergraduate courses to speak followed by panel discussion at the workshop during 2011 and 2012 ASME SBC; (2) Conference agenda: We will exchange ideas for teaching biotransport by having experts share their own successes and failures and permitting questions by the audience consisting of primarily of junior faculty.(3) Post-conference agenda: We will develop a website for posting the repository of biotransport course syllabi, book and journal chapters, and course materials such as quizzes and exams. A journal publication on Biotransport education will be submitted to either the JBME or ABME, or the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

Intellectual Merit: Biotransport research and education involves the integration of experimental measurements and computational modeling of the coupling between multi-domain and multi-scale processes in cells and tissue. Recently developed experimental techniques, such as radio-frequency, optical, magnetic resonance, high intensity focused ultrasound, have been utilized by our community to better understand biotransport processes, but many of these techniques and results have not been integrated into undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Additionally, novel development of integrated multi-physics and multiscale computational modeling of biotransport processes have been presented in journals and conferences such as ASME, however, these advancements are lacking in university education. The Biotransport Education workshop and website repository will specifically be designed to translate these state-of-the-art research discoveries into classroom learning experiences.

Broader Impact: This project will permit improved education of graduate and undergraduate students in the field of biotransport. It will permit exchange of ideas for teaching this challenging subject matter, including a more unified syllabus, textbook, and other teaching materials. Additionally, by improving student perception of biotransport research in the classroom, we will improve recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate level student researchers. The interdisciplinary nature of biotransport research will provide a unique opportunity for students, including minorities and women, to gain experience in experimental design, engineering, physiology, imaging, and computational modeling. Broader societal impact of improved education in biotransport will improve advancement in application areas such as thermal comfort and environmental heat transfer, biopreservation (molecular, cellular, and tissue torage/banking), thermal therapies (ablation, sub-ablative therapies, hyperthermia, and cryosurgery), and drug delivery, oxygenation, and thermoregulation.

Project Report

The field of bioengineering is relatively new and complex including multiple disciplines encompassing areas in science and engineering. Efforts including the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) and VaNTH Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies have been made to establish and disseminate knowledge and proven methods for teaching bioengineering concepts. Further, the Summer Bioengineering Conference (SBC), sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) Bioengineering Division, was established to provide a meeting place for engineering educators and students having common interests in biological systems. Of the many sub-disciplines of bioengineering, biotransport is a key subject that has wide applicability to many issues in engineering, biology, medicine, pharmacology and environmental science, among others. The absence of standard content, guidelines and texts needed for teaching biotransport courses to students motivated the Biotransport committee of ASME’s Bioengineering Division to establish a biotransport education initiative. Biotransport education workshop sessions were conducted during the SBC 2011, 2012 and 2013 as part of this initiative. The workshop sessions included presentations from experienced faculty covering a spectrum of information from general descriptions of undergraduate biotransport courses to very detailed outlines of graduate courses to successful teaching techniques. A list of texts and references available for teaching biotransport courses at undergraduate and graduate levels have been collated and documented based on the workshop presentations. Further, based on individual teaching experiences and methodologies shared by the presenters, it was noted that active learning techniques, including cooperative and collaborative learning, can be useful for teaching undergraduate courses while problem based learning (PBL) can be a beneficial method for graduate courses. The outcomes of the education initiative will help produce students who are knowledgeable in the subject of biotransport, facile in applying biotranport concepts for solving problems in various application areas, and comfortable with their own abilities as life-long learners.

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University of Cincinnati
United States
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