Whitaker Awards $6.8 Million For Biomedical Engineering Education

November 24, 1997

ROSSLYN, Va., Nov. 24, 1997 -- The Whitaker Foundation has awarded $6.8 million in grants to improve biomedical engineering education at six universities in the United States and one in Canada.

The universities and the amount of each award are: Dalhousie University in Canada, $858,863; Duke University, $999,743; Pennsylvania State University, $999,591; Purdue University, $991,000; Syracuse University, $999,168; Tulane University, $999,905; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, $999,999.

Dalhousie will use the grant to create a graduate program and a new Institute for Biomedical Engineering, including a long-distance teleconferencing system to exchange course offerings with the University of New Brunswick. The grant will help with the institute's start-up costs, including those for new faculty and staff, building renovation, equipment purchases and support for new courses.

Duke University will enhance its graduate program in medical imaging by hiring two faculty members in biomedical engineering, recruiting new graduate students, and creating five new biomedical engineering courses and an associated virtual imaging laboratory. The courses and laboratory will develop virtual imaging systems that will be available to students and researchers worldwide through the Internet.

Penn State will expand its biomedical engineering program by offering a new graduate curriculum in biomolecular transport dynamics, the first formal program in the United States to focus on the transport of molecules and cells. These processes are crucial to the fundamental understanding and practical application of modern molecular medicine. The emphasis will be on education and research in the delivery of molecular medicine and the role of molecular transport processes in diseases.

At Purdue, a new graduate program in biomedical engineering will be offered jointly with Indiana University. The program unites the Indiana University schools of medicine and dentistry with the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine and Purdue's strengths in engineering and science to create the only biomedical engineering doctoral program in Indiana. The focus will be on intelligent biomaterials, orthopedic biomechanics, medical imaging, implantable devices and xenogenic tissue engineering.

The Syracuse grant will be used to begin building a graduate program in bioengineering by hiring two new faculty members, integrating the resources of SUNY Health Sciences Center, and providing student support. Once a master's degree program is established, the plan calls for developing a Ph.D. program. Primary research areas include sensory systems, artificial joints, and the biophysics and biomechanics of bone. Interactions with industry will be emphasized.

Tulane will expand its biomedical engineering program by developing a new laboratory and research program in computational tissue engineering. The grant will help set up the laboratory and begin staffing it. Support will also be offered for post-doctoral scholars and graduate research assistants. Five new courses and a monthly series of seminars in tissue engineering are also planned. The laboratory will focus its research on computational modeling, including cell- and tissue-level investigations of bone growth and remodeling.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will enhance its undergraduate program in biomedical engineering and lay the groundwork for a new biomedical engineering department. The grant will enable the university to hire two new faculty members, equip a new biomedical engineering teaching laboratory and stimulate new research, with an emphasis in minimally invasive medical technologies. The educational emphasis will be in engineering design. Research will emphasize minimally invasive medical technologies.

The grants were made under the foundation's program of Special Opportunity Awards in Biomedical Engineering. These awards of up to $1 million are designed to enhance the field of biomedical engineering through permanent, high-quality educational programs that will have a lasting, beneficial effect on the field.

The Whitaker Foundation is the nation's largest private sponsor of biomedical engineering research and education. It supports more than 400 research projects, 140 graduate fellows and 100 education and internship programs at colleges and universities. The foundation also supports research to lower medical costs and underwrites the development of teaching materials.

Whitaker Foundation

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