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Innovative Education

Innovative Curricula | Getting Hands-On Experience
Creating Business-Savy Engineers | Design & Translational Training


 

Innovative Curricula

The Case Biomedical Engineering Program is one of the premier BME Programs in the country. Established in 1968 with over 1600 alumni, Case BME continues to be a top ranked program, serve as a model for innovative education, and be an international leader in research.

Our mission is to promote human health through education and research that bridges the gap between medicine and engineering. We have established successful and comprehensive programs in research and education. Our educational program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

At the cornerstone of our success has been active collaboration, which is embodied by intensive interactions between students and faculty in classrooms and research laboratories. Collaborations are also greatly facilitated by our prime location adjacent to outstanding research and clinical resources at the School of Medicine , the University Hospitals of Cleveland , the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and the VA Medical Center, as well as close proximity to the MetroHealth Medical Center. The Biomedical Engineering faculty carry dual appointments in the Case School of Engineering and the School of Medicine ; active participation in both schools provides a collaborative environment to establish many research centers to translate biomedical engineering research from bench to bedside.

Our department continues to evolve to match the recent accelerated pace of biomedical engineering developments. Our cutting-edge research programs span a wide range of new interdisciplinary engineering discoveries and biomedical applications.

Our research and education programs are strongly integrated with industry through our strong industrial relationships. Industrial opportunities include, job opportunities, sponsored research, and industrial training are key components in our employer relations efforts.

The department hosts visiting scholars, who are leaders in their respective research areas, to present seminars and lectures within our department.

 

Specialty Areas

The Engineering Core Curriculum of The Case School of Engineering provides a foundation in mathematics and sciences for programs in engineering, as well as develop communication skills and to provide a body of work in the humanities and social sciences. To build on this solid foundation, students also take core BME courses, which equip them with a breadth of biomedical engineering knowledge and skills. However, our program also recognized the need for our student to have depth in a well-defined area in biomedical engineering. Consequently, we pioneered the BME Specialty Sequence, which includes essential coursework to establish a foundation in the specialty area, and also includes technical electives to provide flexibility to meet specific educational needs. A customized Specialty Sequence may also be developed through consultations with an academic advisor and faculty approval. Currently, our department offers eight different BME Specialty Sequences.

 

Freshman Introductory Course

Our Introduction to Biomedical Engineering course presents an overview of a variety of biomedical engineering topics, which span research, development, and design for biomedical problems, diagnoses of disease, and therapeutic applications. This broad curriculum is intended to enable freshman students to determine if biomedical engineering is the right field of study for their career goals. This curriculum also provides a strong awareness of biomedical engineering activities before  starting engineering and physiology core courses, so that students may relate fundamentals presented in core courses to BME issues presented in the introduction course.

The course focuses on four major fields within biomedical engineering:

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Neural Engineering
  • Cardiac Bioelectricity
  • Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

In addition, other fields of biomedical engineering are highlighted throughout the course. Guest speakers from industry and clinical practice provide even greater breadth to the course. This year, Dr. Mark Kroll, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at St. Jude Medical, guest lectured. Dr. Kroll spoke about the "History and Future of Defibrillation."

 

SAGES
Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship

Small seminars, faculty mentoring, and hands-on learning are all part of an innovative new program of study at Case and are the foundational academic experience for all Case undergraduates. Learn more about SAGES.

Research universities like Case have tremendous resources available for students.  The faculty and facilities of a research university are truly awesome in all academic departments - from science and engineering to the humanities, health sciences, management, performing arts, and others. But for an undergraduate student to make the most of these resources, you must first learn how to interact and engage with this exciting environment. That's where SAGES comes in.

SAGES features small seminars (less than 20 students) led by a faculty member and taught in a dynamic seminar-style instruction. Students interact with students from different perspectives and viewpoints, as well as learn to develop and hone their ability to speak and to persuade and to listen to, and be open to, differing perspectives. In the university seminars, students also participate in Biomedical Engineering Departmental seminars that focus on technical writing and topics in the field of biomedical engineering. Biomedical Engineering students will also have the opportunity to get to form closer relations with BME faculty because of the small class size.

 


 

Getting Hands-On Experience

Case BME has been a leader in innovative experimental learning. Giving students the opportunity to get into labs or work with actual medical devices is a core part of our program. Case BME offers a multitude of opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience, especially in industrial and/or clinical settings. In 2001, Case implemented a BME Student Employment Program where students can participate in co-op, internship, or part-time opportunities in actual research and/or industrial settings. The mission of this program is to give Case BME students a competitive advantage by increasing their experiential learning and fulltime placement opportunities while fostering a perception among potential students that the program offers an exclusive opportunity to obtain BME employment. In addition to co-op and internship placement assistance, students also receive full-time placement assistance and career counseling, which is specifically geared toward biomedical engineering. Another area for students to gain hands-on experience is in one of our more than 41 state-of-the art teaching laboratory exercises. All BS graduates complete two semesters of Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (EBME 313 and EBME 314) during their junior year. BS graduates also complete a BME Design Project (EBME 380) or BME Laboratory Research Project (EBME 398) during their senior year as part of their "Senior Capstone" experience.

 

Graduate Internships

Because so many of our graduate students come from other universities, many of them didn't have a chance to participate in an internship or co-op as an undergraduate. The interest from graduate students in gaining experience in industry is strong. Consequently, the BME Student Employment Program was expanded to include internship opportunities for graduate students as well.

Support for graduate internships was significantly enhanced in 2004 when the Case BME Department Developed "The Case BME-Industry Partnership Program For Biomedical Engineering Graduate Students." This program was developed because learning experiences at industry sites can often benefit BME graduate students, industry partners, and the BME faculty. However, partnerships between industry and the Department of Biomedical Engineering are difficult to establish because of a lack of funding for initial proof-of-concept studies that can demonstrate mutual benefit. More specifically, management in industry is reluctant to commit resources without initial risk assessment, and BME faculty members are reluctant to commit limited resources to developments or processes that may not be publishable. These issues are particularly problematic for establishing experiential learning opportunities for BME graduate students at industry sites because the more limited experience of the graduate student increases risk, and the collaboration may be more tangential to a BME faculty member's primary research interests. However, successful learning experiences at industry sites can often benefit BME graduate students, industry partners, and the BME faculty. The Case BME-Industry Partnership Program is designed to integrate graduate students' research activities in industry and at Case to emphasize interdisciplinary training, and the time at the industry site is limited to a total of four weeks to minimize impact on the current graduate program of study.

 

State-Of-The-Art Teaching Labs

Case offers two state-of-the-art teaching labs that undergraduates take during their junior year. These courses offer students hands-on experience in various aspects of biomedical engineering and are designed to teach students laboratory skills, experimental design and interpretation of data, technical writing, presentation skills, and awareness of ethical issues in relevant to laboratory work. An essential part of the undergraduate educational experience is applying principles encountered in course work to actual clinical or research problems. Thus, the laboratory serves as a vehicle for the synthesis of material already covered in physiology and biophysics, instrumentation, computer science, mechanics and materials courses. One cannot learn laboratory skills from a book, thus the more hands-on experience, the more successful the course. In the fall (EBME 313), students are required to complete a "Toy Lab" and three labs from the approved labs list. In the spring (EBME 314), students will complete four regular labs. In fall 2004, the department implemented three megalabs, which are taken by all students. All other labs may be selected by the students based on his or her individual interests. In addition to Case faculty laboratories, students may also participate in approved labs at the VA Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland, and MetroHealth Medical Center. In addition to completing the lab session, students must also complete the pre lab (week preceding the lab week), which describes the lab exercise in which they will participate. Additionally, a post lab (after the lab week) will cover what was done, what went wrong, and will include a discussion of the lab report to be written. Students also make a presentation on one of their lab. To enhance the students' communication skills, for each course (one for EBME 313 and one for EBME 314), students will make a brief oral presentation about one of their labs.

 

Undergraduate Co-Ops and Internships

With the implementation of the BME Student Employment Program, undergraduate co-ops and internships have grown exponentially. Total placements in co-ops and internships for 2004 reached 134. Approximately 89 percent of our BME undergraduate who received their BS in the 2003/2004 academic year had at least one experiential learning opportunity while at Case. The Case BME Department hired a Director of Employer and Student Relations to design and implement the BME Student Employment Program. The success in experiential learning opportunities, especially co-op has been overwhelming. This program is innovative because it has a career/placement professional that is actually housed in the Biomedical Engineering Department. The location of this position is unique to Case BME and has been paramount to the success in placements. The strategy of the BME Student Employment Program has been to develop partnerships with both industrial and research employers, as well as attract and retain potential BME students through promoting careers in the field, marketing experiential learning opportunities, engaging BME professionals to speak, and providing career counseling that is specifically geared toward BME students.

 


 

Creating Business-Savy Engineers

The Master of Engineering and Management program was designed to meet the needs of industry by offering young engineers the critical skills needed to be successful in an engineering career. Engineering and Business Management do not happen independently in industry. For the first time, they are fully integrated into a 42 credit hour program that only takes three semesters to complete. Case Western Reserve University is the only university to offer a fully integrated academic program. Courses are taught by the highly ranked Case School of Engineering and Weatherhead School of Management.

The core curriculum includes:

  • Accounting, Finance and Engineering Economics
  • Engineering Entrepreneurship I & II
  • Information Technology and Systems
  • Product & Process Design, Development and Delivery I & II
  • Materials and Manufacturing Processes
  • Professional Development
  • Project Management
  • Understanding People and Change in Organizations

In addition to the core courses, students can also take a concentration. For students who are current undergraduate biomedical engineers, there is a track designed specifically for biomedical engineers, which offers individualized technical electives and required coursework geared for the biosciences, in the areas of statistics, regulatory affairs and models of healthcare systems. For more information, see The Institute for management and Engineering (TiME).

 


 

Design & Translational Training

In the context of biomedical research and development, Translational Research can be defined as the translation of laboratory discoveries or developments into improved medical care. It is the translation of engineering principles and techniques to the solution of medical problems that defines biomedical engineering as a distinct engineering discipline. The role of the Biomedical Engineer is to provide an essential link between the physical sciences and medicine and biomedical sciences. Successful Translational Research relies on the cooperation and coordination of interdisciplinary teams of scientists and clinical practitioners in order to bring new technology "from the lab bench to the bedside." Building on this premise, Case BME rolled out a new Translational Research course in the fall of 2004. This courses was designed to provide our BME students with the skills to evaluate technology and plan research from both the engineering and clinical perspective, participate in interdisciplinary biomedical research teams to carry out translational research, and gain experience at the Engineer-Clinician interface that will enable them to form collaborative and collegial relationships with clinicians.

Strong design skills are also paramount to a Biomedical Engineer's success, especially in industry. Recognizing the need for enhancing our students' design skills, Case BME implemented a "Design for Biomedical Engineers" course as well. In this course, students work in teams to actually design clinically useful devices or products that may have commercial value. Teams present their product at the end of the semester.

 

Translational Research for Engineers

Successful Translational Research relies on the cooperation and coordination of interdisciplinary teams of scientists and clinical practitioners in order to bring new technology "from the lab bench to the bedside." Building on this premise, Case BME rolled out a new Translational Research course in the fall of 2004. This courses was designed to provide our BME students with the skills to evaluate technology and plan research from both the engineering and clinical perspective, participate in interdisciplinary biomedical research teams to carry out translational research, and gain experience at the Engineer-Clinician interface that will enable them to form collaborative and collegial relationships with clinicians.

Course topics include:

  • The Engineer-Clinician interface
  • Engineering safe prototypes/devices
  • Validation Study design
  • Regulatory/oversight organizations
  • Commercialization
  • Final project

Additionally, students will participate in physician shadowing, panel discussions, and attend Grand Rounds, as well as Morbidity and Mortality conferences.