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Engineering Biomedical Systems

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 30, 2014 - July 11, 20142M-F 9A-11:50ACourse Full, Waitlist ClosedOlivia Beane, Manisha Kanthilal10166

Course Description

Have you ever wondered how scientists make pacemakers or grow cartilage for joint repair? These scientists, called biomedical engineers, have been working in this new and exciting field to develop devices and tissue engineered technologies to help us live better lives. The most exciting thing about biomedical engineering is that there are many questions left to be answered. After taking this course, you could very well be the one to develop the solution!

Our aim is to provide an introduction to biomedical engineering analysis, specifically relating to device design and tissue engineering approaches. It takes a healthy balance of biology and engineering to accurately mimic living systems, a challenge the field still faces today. In order to understand how professionals approach this challenge, an overview of human physiological systems will be provided from an engineering perspective, focusing on the physical principles underlying the basic functionality of these systems in healthy and diseased states. Students will be taught using examples of popular biomedical technologies, including artificial joints and hearts, the iron lung, and insulin pumps. Additionally, we will be covering differences in current approaches, such as tissue engineered organs versus synthetic organ analogs. The course will incorporate an independent proposal/final paper where students will be able to improve current biomedical technologies or propose a new biomedical device that can repair lost function. There may potentially also be (guest) lectures on genetic engineering and prosthetics which are based on the same kinds of principles, but employ a very different methodology for implementing their design. By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of human systems physiology, disease pathology, and basic engineering principles.

This course will be of particular interest to high-school students interested in exploring engineering and/or biological sciences at the undergraduate level, and will be targeted at developing their critical thinking and analysis skills using the multidisciplinary context of biomedical engineering. Students are encouraged to bring a nonscientific or basic scientific calculator with trigonometry functions.

Prerequisites: High school biology is required. Other science courses (Physics and Chemistry) may be helpful but are not required. There will be no required text for this course. The presentations will be prepared using a variety of sources (including both medical physiology and engineering texts), and the students will get readings from science feature articles from magazines. The course will try to integrate references to technologies that are often represented in popular media (TV shows/movie clips) to enable an appreciation of the various ways in which biomedical technologies are integrated with daily life, and how scientists and engineers use well-established knowledge in novel ways and impact many lives along the way.

*Please note: This course has a Material Fee of $125.00.

You might also be interested in: Biomedical Engineering: Design of Tissue-Engineered Materials (online course)