From East to West

I have now finished my first week of the US bioengineering trip. This post is a synopsis of what I have learnt so far.

1. The UK and the USA landscape of bioengineering isn’t as different as I had expected.

2. There is heterogeneity in the bioengineering departments, with different Departments focusing on different aspects of bioengineering. Most interestingly on this front was the different meaning of bioengineering to each institution, sometimes subtle other times less so in the case of MIT where they have taken a unique approach to biological engineering.

3. Invention, innovation and design are all growing areas of interest in bioengineering education out here. My meetings with Michael Cima at MIT and Youseph Yazdi at Johns Hopkins particularly highlighted this. It is an area that Imperial are up there with alongside the american institutions with the MRes in Medical Device Design and Entrepreneurship which Professor James Moore launched in October 2013.

4. Impact, the buzz word of 2013 is also big in the US, although they generally refer to it as ‘broader impact’. As in the UK the funders, particularly the NSF, are now providing grants for outreach as part of research.

5. Industry perception, although I think generally US awareness of bioengineering is higher than that of the UK there is still work to be done in industry. Particularly industry perception of the skillset of bioengineers vs. mechanical or electrical and electronic engineers. I am looking forward to working on this survey with some of my new US contacts that I have met with during this trip.

Overall my views of the future growth of the discipline have only been encouraged through this trip. I have met many inspirational individuals on the trip so far who are leading the discipline academically and innovatively, and I feel very privileged to have had the honour to meet them all.

Special thanks to:
Professor Doug Lauffenburger, MIT
Professor Roger Kamm, MIT
Professor Ron Weiss, MIT
Daniel Darling, MIT
Professor Scott Manalis, MIT
Dr Agi Stachowiak, MIT
Dr Natalie Kuldell, MIT
Professor Michael Cima, MIT

Professor Solomon Eisenberg, Boston University

Professor Sandra Shefelbine, Northeastern University
Claire Duggan, Northeastern University
Karen Kelley, Northeastern University

Professor Clark Hung, Columbia University

Doug Beizer, Biomedical Engineering Society

Dr Karen Borgsmiller, Johns Hopkins University
Christine Newman, Johns Hopkins University
Alisha Sparks, Johns Hopkins University
Professor Youseph Yazdi, Johns Hopkins University

…not a bad first week 🙂

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