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  • 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.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
For whatever it's worth, BME is the newest engineering department in my college. We were talking about this today when I was meeting my benefactor (my scholarship donor likes to mentor the recipients of the scholarship he funded) - BME split out once there was a critical mass of BME-related research being done in the other departments. And since engineering is housed in one building, there's lots of cross pollination still going on between departments -- like, my controls professor is doing some system ID of how the body absorbs a certain dye to optimally move a scanner table, and my own research lab is a conglomeration of faculty and students from EE, ME, BME, and the radiography department of the medical college.

Erm, my point, if I have one, is that this might be an easier sell to the powers that be if there's *already* ongoing BME-related research going on ('cause it's rare to hear tell of departments that are teaching ONLY, almost all of them have associated research)... I don't know how similar KSU's engineering college is to Iowa's as far as internal politics go, soo...
Nov. 7th, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
Them that has, gets: good point!
Thanks. I will definitely keep that in mind when I muster the folks interested in BME to make the case. We have funded projects in veterinary telemedicine, meat safety, etc. Some of these even have NSF ITR grants associated with them, although with ITR now four years defunct, these are about expire if not already recently-expired.

There's always something happening at the EECE/embedded systems/software reliability interface with BME; it's just a matter of generating enough support and formulating a clear vision of where we want to focus our collaborative training efforts (advising, research, certificate programs/minors, and courses).

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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