Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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The Five Departments We Need the Most, Number 2: Biomedical Engineering

  • Who needs it: We don't have a medical school, but the University of Kansas (KU) does, and we have the stronger computer science and overall engineering research programs here. Electrical, Computer, Mechanical, Industrial, Civil, and Chemical Engineering could all benefit from contact with BME. That's just our college; then there's Anatomy and Physiology in Vet Med, Physics, Biology, Statistics (for the OR, optimization, and control theory), Math, Biochem, Chemistry, in roughly that order. Business Administration, MIS, even Architecture and Design for the visualization aspects. Maybe the Genetics program in Plant Path. Plus, you don't have to have a medical school to have a medical library.

  • Why we need it: To have research in telemedicine, applied sensor networks, and embedded systems - all very fundable areas; to expand into applied biophysics, microbiology, diagnostic medicine; to build on our core competencies in robotics, control systems, and optimization.

  • When we need it (and how long we've needed it): Many engineering faculty, staff, and students would doubtless disagree with my assertion that we've been ready for a BME department for the last 10-20 years at least, but I'm speaking from what I saw at Hopkins, which has a top BME department and pretty good EE and CS departments. Also, UIUC didn't have BME when I was a grad student there, and now it does. And if that doesn't convince you, well... look! Vitruvian Man icon! Sparkly!

  • How bad we need it: As a function of opportunity cost from unmet needs and unclaimed available funding, I would say we need it more than anything else. In terms of sheer intellectual benefit I put Linguistics first, but that's more an osmosis and head count thing.

  • Where it should live (i.e., to what college it should belong): Engineering would be best equipped for BME, though I could see Vet Med housing a biomedicine program with certain telemedical and prosthetic components. I don't know enough about CVM to say, but from my experience: they are surprisingly well-funded by NIH, but in terms of untapped potential and staying power in bioinformatics, it's going to take major input from Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture. Plant sciences gets short shrift in the BME arena, but if one of you has the perfect Bionic Ent idea, now's your chance to post a comment about it without looking like a kook.

Tags: biology, education, engineering, medicine, research

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