TU to offer biomedical engineering minor

13 April 2017
Alex Garoffolo, Student Writer

The minor combines a range of topics and promises to bring an emerging field to TU.

According to the minor sheet TU provides prospective students, biomedical engineering involves “blurring the distinction between engineering and medicine … cochlear implants, MRI machines, hip implants and smart prosthetics” are just a few advances that the field has made.

The minor itself consists of courses in three main fields of focus: biology, biomedical engineering foundational classes and biomedical engineering specialization classes. The biology core comprises seven hours of courses in the biology field and the specialization classes include a broad range of topics: bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering, robots and sensor design, just to name a few. The departments involved include computer sciences, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, physics and mathematics.

Dr. John Henshaw, chair of the mechanical engineering department, was a key force behind the creation of this program. Dr. Ty Johannes also contributed considerably.

Henshaw explained the “epochs” of engineering like this: “first came the steam engine, then we had the Wright Brothers and the creation of manned flight, then came the space race, followed by the advent of electronic devices becoming critical to most of our everyday lives (cell phones, computers) and now we see the truly next big epoch in the marriage of medicine and engineering.”

“We can create artificial joints and retinas,” he added, as well as an array of other project applications for biomedical engineering, including “biologically inspired robots.”

“The biomedical field is the fastest growing one in engineering,” Henshaw concluded. There is great potential for many innovations and products that could drastically change many people’s’ lives for the better. This minor is just the start of TU’s efforts to bring biomedicine into the educational sphere. Expect more from the program in coming years, even the possibility of a full-fledged major.