Biomedical Engineering Department Cornell University

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1 Biomedical Engineering Department Cornell University Our department offers three degree programs. The PhD is a research degree which usually requires approximately 5 years depending on the success of the thesis project. Historically, all PhD students have been fully funded (tuition, stipend, and health insurance) by a variety of mechanisms including Graduate Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and internal and external fellowships. An unusual aspect of our PhD program is the Immersion Term at Cornell Weill Medical College in New York City which is typically undertaken during the summer following the first year and provides students with first hand experience in a world class clinical environment. Two Master's degree programs are available: a Master of Science (MS) degree, which requires a research thesis and usually takes two years; and a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree, which has a project rather than a thesis and can often be completed in two semesters. Although the MS is available, we normally accept only students who intend to pursue a PhD. Very limited financial aid is available for students in the MEng degree program. Additional information on our graduate programs and descriptions of the research foci of the department, as well as pointers to general information about Cornell and the Ithaca area, are available on our web page at: The application deadline for the MS and PhD Program for Fall 2010 is January 15, 2010 to be considered for financial aid (March 1 without aid). Applications for the MEng program are accepted on a rolling basis. Students who wish to apply to our MS, PhD, or MEng graduate programs can do so electronically by visiting the Cornell Graduate School website at:

2 Biomedical Engineering BME Doctor of Philosophy Program Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University focuses on interdisciplinary research to achieve a quantitative understanding of human biology at all spatial and temporal scales with the goal of improving human health. Our interests span spatial scales from molecules through cells, tissues, and organs to responses at the level of the entire body and span temporal scales from the femtoseconds of chemical reactions to the decades of degenerative diseases. Graduate Student Experience at Cornell Graduate education at Cornell is focused on individualized programs tailored to the background, needs, and interests of each student. Cornell combines an Ivy League tradition with many features of a land grant university to provide outstanding programs of teaching and research in all areas of human inquiry. Professor Chris Schaffer (center), with research associates Joan Zhou (left) and Nozomi Nishimura, stands in front of one of the laser systems used for imaging Alzheimer s disease plaques and vasculature in the brains of mice. Research Foci While a list of research foci does not capture the integrated nature of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell, it does provide one way to understand the breadth of research pursued in the department. Learn more online ( Biomaterials and Drug Delivery The design of a wide variety of drug-delivery systems, surgical implants, artificial organs, and wound-closure devices is critically dependent on biomaterials, and molecular therapeutics form the basis for the prevention and treatment of most human diseases. Biomedical Mechanics Engineering principles are combined with sophisticated instruments to understand the response of cells, tissues, and organs to mechanical stress and to address basic and clinical research questions associated with systems such as heart valves, the musculoskeletal system, and blood vessels and the cells that flow through them. Dendrites expressing yellow fluorescent protein (green) and blood vessels labeled with fluorescent dye (red) in the cortex of a live mouse. Biomedical Imaging Our unique facilities and extensive collaborations among engineers, physical scientists, life scientists, and clinicians provide superb opportunities to create and improve sophisticated imaging techniques and instrumentation. We have particular expertise with multi-photon optical imaging, which provides 3-D information at the micron spatial scale. Micro-and Nanobiotechnology Cornell pioneered the development of nanobiotechnology, offers superb facilities, and leads in the application of microfabrication and cell culture to medical problems.

3 Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Engineering Tissue engineering holds great promise for replacing compromised or lost tissue and organ functions, and offers invaluable strategies to the recreation of tissues that may be used as model systems for basic research or drug testing. Immersion Term at Cornell Weill Medical College in New York City An unusual aspect of the BME Ph.D. program at Cornell is the Immersion Term at Cornell Weill Medical College in New York City. Usually done during the summer following the first year of graduate study, the Immersion Term allows each Ph.D. student to spend seven weeks at the Weill Cornell Medical College and affiliated hospitals observing the practice of medicine from the outpatient clinic to the operating room and participating in clinical research. Many students report that this is a wonderful experience that motivates them and orients them to the world of clinical medicine. While New York City is expensive, participation in the Immersion Term costs the students nothing: housing at the medical school is provided at no cost to the students and stipend and health insurance continue with no change from the academic year. Opportunities for Training in Education and Outreach In addition to a world-class research environment, the BME department at Cornell has opportunities for you to learn to be a better educator and to teach students at various levels, middle school through undergraduates, about science and engineering. In particular, BME has a Department of Education funded GAANN program that helps graduate students interested in careers as faculty to learn more about teaching in undergraduate institutions and to improve their presentation skills. In addition, our NSF-funded GK-12 program, CLIMB ( cornell.edu/) funds graduate students to spend time in nearby middle and high schools working alongside teachers to improve science education. The immesion term allows engineering students to observe medical practice first-hand by participating in the clinical rounds at Cornell Weill; they are shown here with Dr. William Frayer at the neonatal intensive care unit. Practicalities All Ph.D. students are fully funded (tuition, stipend, and health insurance). The funding comes from a variety of sources including graduate research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and external and internal fellowships. The specific requirements for the Ph.D. degree are minimal. The fundamental requirement is to form a thesis advisory committee of at least three faculty members. The chair of the committee is your thesis advisor. The two required additional members represent your minor programs, one in engineering and one in life science. The content of your program is determined jointly with your committee. In order to help students understand the breadth of Biomedical Engineering, the Department also requires each Ph.D. student to complete two broad overview courses (currently BME 7110 Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering Research and BME 7747 Core Concepts in Disease) and participate in the departmental seminar (BME 7900 Biomedical Engineering Seminar). In order to expose all students to quantitative ideas and methods, the Department requires each Ph.D. student to take one methods course (currently BME 7310 Advanced Biomedical Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems). Finally, all students must participate in the Immersion Term, which has a course number BME 7160 Immersion Experience in Medical Research and Clinical Practice. Graduate student Siddharth Pathi (right) gains teaching experience and improves science education by working alongside teachers in area middle and high schools. Learn more online ( More information Please contact Ms. Belinda Floyd at and and/or visit Cornell University is an equal opportunity, affirmation active educator and employer. 11/2009

4 Biomedical Lorem Ipsum Engineering BME Master of Engineering Engineers who understand biology and who can apply their knowledge and skills to improve human health are increasingly in demand. A professional degree in biomedical engineering (BME) will prepare students to fill this increasingly critical need. Educational Goal The master of engineering program prepares students for professional practice in BME. Students will acquire a broad perspective of the biomedical engineering discipline that complements their undergraduate training in engineering or science and an in-depth knowledge of an essential area in biomedical engineering. Graduates will be equipped to design biomedical devices and develop therapeutic strategies within the bounds of health care economics, the needs of patients and physicians, the regulatory environment for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and stringent ethical standards of biomedical engineering practice. Curriculum Requirements A total of 30 credits is required for the master of engineering degree and typically involving two semesters. All students must complete the following: BME 5500, Product Engineering and Design in Biomedical Engineering, 3 credits BME 5910, BME Design Project, 3 to 6 credits BME 5010, Bioengineering Seminar, 1 credit Biomedical Engineering Foci, 12 credits minimum Students must choose one of the three areas below as an area of concentration and demonstrate knowledge in the other two: Biomedical Mechanics and Materials Bioinstrumentation and Imaging Drug Delivery and Cellular/Tissue Engineering The remaining credits can be from engineering, science, and business courses. Students are expected to have working knowledge of molecular and cellular-based biomedical engineering and engineering analysis of physiological systems when they enter the program; however, courses are available to make up missing course work during the M.Eng. program. The precise program requirements must be agreed upon by the student and the M.Eng. faculty coordinator. M.Eng. students worked with Professor Christopher Schaffer to use femtosecond laser pulses for cartilage tissue welding.

5 M.Eng. Design Project The M.Eng. project is a six-credit project done over two terms. Students may work in teams. Emphasis is on design and typically involves an economic evaluation of a process or product. Projects may be generated by BME faculty, industrial colleagues, or clinicians in Cornell s medical or veterinary colleges. While the project is often a paper study, it may involve laboratory exploration of a new idea, development of a prototype of a device, production of CAD drawings, or design of a process. The project may focus on design of procedures as well as devices. Development of instrumentation for laboratory experiments could be a possible project. Examples of projects accomplished by students include: Electrically assisted patient walker funded by John and Michelle Slapp, Class of 69 Mechanobiological factors shaping the evolution of the vertebrate heart with Professor Jonathan Butcher Cartilage tissue welding with femtosecond laser pulses with Professor Christopher Schaffer Living inks for 3-D tissue printing with Professor Lawrence Bonassar Design of a bioprocess-on-a-chip BME students got feedback from local seniors, designing better walkers to help the elderly maintain their mobility and independence. Students are encouraged to select a project by mid-september and work on it over the course of two terms, although it possible to complete the design project in a single semester. Funding is available for combining a master of engineering degree with a master of business administration. See edu/knight for more information.

6 Biomedical Engineering BME Immersion Term First-hand experience in a clinical environment Who: Cornell s BME Ph.D. students and physicians at Weill Cornell Medical College and associated institutions What: Each Ph.D. student spends 6 to 8 weeks at Weill Cornell Medical College and associated institutions observing physicians in various settings including the operating room and outpatient clinic and participating in clinical research. When: Usually the summer following the first year of graduate school Where: Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City How: Stipend and housing expenses paid by Cornell s Department of Biomedical Engineering Why: The goal of the immersion term is for each student to have the opportunity to see first-hand how the results of biomedical engineering impact patient diagnosis and care and to better understand the challenges facing physicians as they try to deliver outstanding patient care. For example, what really happens during a total knee replacement and what are the challenges? BME students scrubbed and one foot away from the patient s knee in the operating room get the ultimate insider s look and the opportunity to integrate that information into their thesis research and career! My project involved development of a lung model that could eventually be used in a predictive or diagnostic manner to analyze patient conditions who are on, or require mechanical ventilation with an aim of making a more usable tool for doctors and clinicians in a bedside setting. Benjamin Hawkins, BME Ph.D. Candidate I have learnt one thing that I will always remember when I design instruments and devices in the future: keep everything simple and ready to use. It s not that the surgeons don t understand how it works but its the simple fact that in the OR there is no time. Abhishek Ramkumar, BME Ph.D. Candidate More information: Please contact Ms. Belinda Floyd,

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