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Dean Moses announces Bioengineering Program

A new Program in Biomedical Engineering that will coordinate and enhance research activities in biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering has been announced by Professor Joel Moses, Dean of the School.

"Most departments in the School of Engineering are involved in biomedical engineering research on a variety of levels," Professor Moses said. "There is a need to coordinate these efforts for maximum impact on this rapidly growing field.

"Given the active role of MIT in the Boston biomedical community and the extensive research resources of this environment, MIT is in a unique position to provide leadership on a national level at a time when the health-care needs of our society are under scrutiny," he said.

Professor Roger D. Kamm of mechanical engineering and Professor Ernest G. Cravalho, Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, also of mechanical engineering, will serve as the first co-directors of the new initiative.

They noted that as a multidisciplinary activity, many aspects of biomedical engineering require close collaboration with colleagues in medicine and biology. Many faculty in the School of Engineering have had such longstanding collaborations with their colleagues in the Harvard Medical School that have been facilitated by the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. The new program will strengthen these collaborations.

The new Program in Biomedical Engineering will bring together groups of faculty and students who share an interest in the role of technology in patient care. Through initiatives generated by these groups, the program will develop resorces to facilitate future multidisciplinary research in biomedical engineering on the MIT campus. Potential areas of investigation that could benefit from this approach include cell and tissue engineering, aids for the elderly, new drug-delivery systems, and the role of technology in reducing the costs of health care.

Professor Cravalho observed that the role of the program is not to supplant ongoing efforts but to complement them through coordination of related activities within the School of Engineering. He said he expects the program to have a positive influence on the educational offerings in biomedical engineering as well.

Because of its focus on technology in patient care, the Program will be developing links with commercial firms in the health-care industry. As part of its initial effort, the Program is planning a symposium on New Technologies in Health Care which may be offered jointly with the Industrial Liaison Program next year. The symposium will bring together MIT researchers and their industrial counterparts.

Professors Kamm and Cravalho will be assisted by a six-member steering committee selected from the biomedical engineering faculty in the School of Engineering and HST. There will also be an advisory committee consisting of representatives of the administrations of MIT and the Harvard Medical School. An industrial advisory committee also is planned.

A version of this article appeared in the April 7, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 28).

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