The overall objective is to enhance our capstone experience to better prepare our students to successfully design, manufacture, translate and commercialize designs for persons with neurological disorders through a multi-disciplinary team approach. This objective will be met through successful completion of four specific aims.
The first aim i nvolves execution of the two- semester capstone design experience by multi-disciplinary student teams consisting of seniors in Engineering and Business who will work together to develop, construct and potentially patent designs. The two-semester course sequence begins with clinical rotations where student teams shadow physicians, therapists and medical personnel, facilitating identification of real clinical needs for improved instrument/devic design.
The second aim i s to incorporate guest lectures by UAB Business faculty and local entrepreneurs to enhance student exposure to real-world product development and business models, including regulatory issues and successful project management techniques.
The third aim i nvolves immersion of students in a manufacturing rotation where they will gain hands-on experience associated with state-of-the-art manufacturing methods for metals and plastics, quality assessment and control, and good manufacturing practices (GMP).
The fourth aim i s the initiation of an innovation partnership with the UAB Department of Neurosurgery that will expand the scope and types of projects available to our students. Successful completion of these aims will result in measurable enhancements of the current undergraduate design experience at UAB, while fulfilling the NIBIB mission to improve public health by producing a BME workforce that can develop and successfully translate their design ideas to reach intended end-users. The proposed activities are distinct from and complimentary to the existing senior capstone design experience. The deepened alignment with academic medicine and medical device manufacturing will provide cohesive and engaging hands-on experiences and will encourage entrepreneurial approaches to solving health problems. Results will be disseminated through journals and technical conferences on engineering education, through local K-12 outreach and dedicated links on our department website. Assessment of student learning through application of direct and indirect measurement tools will provide immediate feedback for continuous quality improvement of the capstone experience. An External Advisory Board will assess program success and advise future enhancements to the newly developed collaborations between the UAB School of Engineering, School of Business, and Hospital, as well as local industry and manufacturing.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed efforts will enhance our senior capstone experience through a multi-disciplinary approach where student teams from engineering and business will perform needs assessment during a clinical immersion with new partners in neurosurgery and long-term collaborating care- givers for persons with disabilities. Guest lectures from business/engineering faculty and local entrepreneurs will enhance student exposure to real-world project planning/management, product development, and commercialization including regulatory issues. A manufacturing rotation will provide students hands-on experience with modern manufacturing tools, good manufacturing practice (GMP), and quality control techniques that will allow our students to successfully translate their design ideas to reach intended end-users.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-E (J1)S)
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Cruz, Theresa
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Eberhardt, Alan W; Tillman, Shea; Kirkland, Brandon et al. (2017) A Project Course Sequence in Innovation and Commercialization of Medical Devices. J Biomech Eng 139:
Sherrod, Brandon A; Dew, Dustin A; Rogers, Rebecca et al. (2017) Design and validation of a low cost, high-capacity weighing device for wheelchair users and bariatrics. Assist Technol 29:61-67
Eberhardt, Alan W; Johnson, Ophelia L; Kirkland, William B et al. (2016) Team-Based Development of Medical Devices: An Engineering-Business Collaborative. J Biomech Eng 138: