When you first hear “biomedical engineering,” you either say, “Wow that sounds so hard and intense!” or, “Are you creating super-babies and robots to rule the world?” If you’ve seen the movie Gattaca, you may think that’s the goal of biomedical engineers. But no, biomedical engineering is not exactly any of those things.
Are you interested in biology and medicine? And physics and engineering? Biomedical engineering is literally a combination of all of the sciences in order to help solve the medical problems of the world.
What actually is Biomedical Engineering?
According to collegegrad.com, biomedical engineers combine many disciplines—biology, medicine and engineering—in order to solve the health-related problems of the world. Their goal is to improve human health via engineering to the biological interface. This means that biomedical engineers design many of the typical machines used in hospitals: from an MRI scanner, to non-invasive surgery devices, to almost anything. They also work in drug design as well as cancer research.
Examples of biomedical engineering research projects include: sensors to identify cancer bio-markers, neural probes to treat Parkinson’s, regenerative stem cell therapy, creating artificial organs, changing genomes, medical imaging devices, implants, artificial body parts, and prosthetics.
What can you do with a degree in Biomedical Engineering?
As you can see from the description of biomedical engineering, the discipline is both relatively new and broad. You can go from small scale BME to large scale BME, such as important medical devices. After achieving an undergraduate degree in BME, people either go on to graduate school to receive a masters in BME or an MBA for creating a BME business, go on to the job industry by working for a BME company, while the rest go on to medical school—as BME is integrated greatly with the medical field.
As for jobs, you can either get involved with the business side of BME by getting a MBA or the research part by doing one of the previously mentioned research projects. This can either be through the many biotechnology companies such as Thermo Fischer and Aptus Endosystems. These companies develop the devices to alleviate the medical problems of the world and improve human health.
Which schools have Biomedical Engineering programs?
Biomedical Engineering is a relatively new field, as we only obtained the ability to examine genomes and create fancy devices recently. Thus, not all schools have BME programs, or only have specific subsets of BME, such as genetics or biotechnology. The best BME schools are generally attached to reputed medical schools and strong engineering programs that have many of the resources an undergraduate BME department needs. Here are some of the top BME programs:
- Johns Hopkins University
- Duke University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of California-San Diego
- University of Pennsylvania
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Case Western Reserve University
- Boston University
- Rice University
And there are many, many more options for you to look into, as biomedical engineering is an exponentially growing field in today’s society. Good luck on your college search!