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Biomedical Engineering Society chapter forms

The MIT student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) will hold its first meeting tonight (September 11) at 7 pm in Rm 6-120. The BMES, which is part of a national society, aims to help students learn more about careers in biomedical engineering and share experiences.

"We're hoping that the BMES can bring together students from all different science and engineering fields who have a common interest in applying technology to medicine," said Melissa Lambeth, a senior in nuclear engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering (BME). "Because BME spans so many different fields, it's hard to know the research that is going on in other departments that might be related to yours. The society hopes through social gatherings, informational meetings and guest faculty lecturers to make the MIT campus more knowledgeable about the possible applications."

Ms. Lambeth joined forces with Hemant Taneja, a double major in electrical engineering and computer science and biology and a minor in BME, and Isaac George, a senior in mechanical engineering who hopes to enter medical school next year, to set up the BMES chapter. Professor of Mechanical Engineering Roger D. Kamm, associate director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at MIT, is the faculty advisor. Linda Griffith-Cima, associate professor of chemical engineering and co-chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee in BME, also is involved, as is Professor Douglas Lauffenburger, director of the Center, who will speak at the first meeting.


Professor Lauffenburger plans to give an overview of some cutting-edge research projects available in biomedical engineering faculty laboratories such as tissue regeneration, delivery of therapeutic proteins and genes, robotics for microsurgery and neuroreha-bilitation, quantitative microscopy and imaging, physiology in microgravity environments, non-invasive diagnostics for tissue diseases such as arthritis and microfabricated assays for gene sequencing and virus detection.

BME is MIT's first interdepartmental minor degree. Created a year ago, it combines disciplines including electrical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, biology, aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering, health sciences and technology, and nuclear engineering. The first six BME minors graduated last year.

"This field is growing very, very fast right now," said Professor Griffith-Cima. "The advent of molecular biology has changed biology immensely and made it a science that is much more amenable to engineering analysis and design."

"I recently attended a bioengineering symposium and found it beautiful to see how the basic principles of various traditional engineering disciplines are applied to complex biological systems," Mr. Taneja said.

Professor Kamm noted that BME graduates can find jobs, for example, in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical or medical products industries. Future applications in BME range from new biomaterials for implantation to devices capable of monitoring blood chemstry non-invasively and using this information to regulate drug delivery by an implanted pump.

The BMES chapter aims to attract 100-200 members. The group will elect officers. Dues will be about $15, and members will get a reduced subscription rate to the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

The group plans to get speakers from MIT, Harvard Medical School and local companies, and arrange tours of local labs and firms, Mr. George said. Members also plan to create a resume booklet to be passed out to companies and labs and to place resumes online.

For more information, contact Professor Kamm at x3-5330 or , or visit the BMES Web site at .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 1996.

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