About Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is one of the most rapidly expanding disciplines in today's academic world. The continually growing demand for quality health care and for solutions to medical problems drives the current move to merge academic, clinical, and research disciplines in an effort to produce major breakthroughs in human medicine for the benefit of present and future generations.

At the forefront of this move is the application of engineering principles to the study of human physiology and pathology - the area known as biomedical engineering. Out of this multi-faceted research discipline emerges all of the exciting innovations of recent years in the diagnosis, treatment, and healing of diseases, and in the production of new medical products and methodologies.

What do Biomedical Engineers do?

Biomedical engineers do research that crosses traditional educational boundaries to join physics with neurology, computers with genetics, mechanical engineering with trauma surgery, and math with biology - just to name a few. This research has significant impact on the technological and clinical practice of medicine. It produces instruments and devices used for diagnosis and treatment therapies, such as heart valves, pacemakers, and heart-lung machines for open heart surgery. Biomedical engineers have developed the medical imaging systems whose names we all recognize -- ultra-sound, X-ray, MRI and CAT scans. More advanced imaging methodologies than these are now on the horizon.

Biomedical engineers develop artificial tissues and organs used for transplantation. They design prosthetic devices and create computerized systems that can be applied to solving complex medical problems as well as shedding light on less spectacular but equally important issues, such as determining what causes older people to fall, and how falls can be prevented. They develop technologies which use mathematics and computers to simulate physiologic systems, functions, and malfunctions. Biomedical engineers apply their knowledge to everything from developing better drug-delivery systems to computer-assisted micro-surgery on unborn babies to creating wireless devices for cardiac and cancer diagnosis.

Specific areas of concentration in biomedical engineering are numerous and diversified. They include specialties such as biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, medical imaging, systems biomedicine, biomolecular engineering, biomaterials, gait analysis, bioinformatics, and instrumentation. Graduates from biomedical engineering programs establish careers in medical facilities, industry, government, and research institutes. They become attached to universities or pursue more education in medical school, or other professional schools. In today's world biomedical career possibilities are constantly growing, and tomorrow's health care demands will probably produce even more.

The following is a quote from the U.S. Department of Labor website: http://www.dol.gov

"Biomedical engineers are expected to have employment growth that is much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. The aging of the population and the focus on health issues will drive demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers. Along with the demand for more sophisticated medical equipment and procedures, an increased concern for cost- effectiveness will boost demand for biomedical engineers, particularly in pharmaceutical manufacturing and related industries. However, because of the growing interest in this field, the number of degrees granted in biomedical engineering has increased greatly. Biomedical engineers, particularly those with only a bachelor's degree, may face competition for jobs. Unlike the case for many other engineering specialties, a graduate degree is recommended or required for many entry-level jobs".

That is much faster than the average -- equates to an employment projection consisting of an increase of 27 percent or more.