Bioengineering Department renamed Department of Biomedical Engineering

October 28, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Department of Bioengineering has been renamed the Department of Biomedical Engineering after being approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Cheng Dong, distinguished professor of biomedical engineering and head of the department, said the name change more accurately reflects the program's teaching and research efforts, with a vision that the department will be a leader in applying engineering technologies to health and medical/life sciences. 

The Department of Biomedical Engineering traces its origins to 1970 as a collaborative effort between the colleges of Engineering and Medicine to develop implantable circulatory assist and artificial heart devices.

Dong said, "The original idea was to combine engineers' problem-solving ability with doctors' biological and medical expertise."

John Brighton, then an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and now provost emeritus, and Dr. William Pierce, then a cardiothoracic surgeon and chemical engineer and now emeritus professor of surgery, led an interdisciplinary team of surgeons, physicians, engineers, materials scientists, fabrication specialists and machinists, veterinarians and animal care technicians to develop a mechanical circulatory assist pump for patient use.

The collaboration paved the way for the establishment of Penn State's first intercollege graduate degree program in 1974, which offered master's and doctoral degrees in bioengineering. The bioengineering graduate program was founded and led by David Geslowitz, now emeritus professor of biomedical engineering.

With financial support from the Whitaker Foundation, the undergraduate bioengineering major was established in 2000. At the same time, the program formally became the Department of Bioengineering under the leadership of Herbert Lipowsky, now professor of biomedical engineering. The undergraduate program received its ABET accreditation in 2007.

Today, the department has more than 230 full-time undergraduate and graduate students and more than $2.8 million in annual funded research from diverse funding sources including the National Institutes of Heath, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, American Heart Association, private foundations and industry sponsors.

The department's research activities include cellular and molecular biomechanics, cardiovascular engineering, mechanobiology, cell signaling and protein dynamics, nanomedicine and drug delivery, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials, bioMEMS and nanotechnology, medical devices, artificial organs, neural interfaces, neuroimaging, biophotonics and imaging and microvascular blood flow.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 29, 2013