After the Boston Marathon bombings, Adrianne Haslet-Davis thought that she had to give up her career as a dancer due to an injury that caused her to loose her left foot. However, this was not the case. Dr. Hugh Herr heard what had happened to her and decided to build her a prosthesis that will allow her to continue dancing. If you haven’t seen it on YouTube already, Adrianne Davis can now dance! Well, guess what guys? This awesome innovation is part of what biomedical engineers do, along with so many other cool things.
Do you want to use 3D printing to print out a new heart? Biomedical engineering! (More specifically, tissue engineering) How about designing better medical devices, such as pacemakers, for people? Yup. Biomedical Engineering. There is literally so much you can explore and do in this growing field. There’s bound to be something you would want to be interested in. So let’s see if we can get you to join the world of biomedical engineering!
What is Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical engineering applies engineering concepts to medicine and biology for the medical field. It is the bridge between engineering and medicine. Like I said, there is so much you can do as a part of this field. Are you interested in the more mechanical side or the more biochemical side? You can focus on genetic engineering, neural engineering, pharmaceutical engineering, or other things. The possibilities are endless!
What skills will you gain?
Engineering is all about applying concepts you learn in class to real life. Aside from a strong math and science background, you will gain good analytical skills, which is super useful in whatever you choose to do in the future. You will know how to work in a lab proficiently and work with others well because you won’t be working in this field alone. In order to identify and solve engineering problems, you will need to learn about contemporary issues. Of course, you will also learn how to design real, working products that will function in our society with real-life constraints.
What jobs can you have?
A number of people who pursue their undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering opt to go on to medical school after they get their bachelors. I mean, why not? The major in many, if not most, schools cover all the prerequisites for medical school. This way, they will also have an engineering background as a doctor, which could be super helpful. Others may choose to start working or get their masters degree after college. (Maybe even a PhD if they want!)
- Biomedical engineer
What colleges have Biomedical Engineering Programs?
Before I go further, I just want to note that not all colleges may offer an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. This is why some may decide to major in other engineering disciplines such as chemical engineering or mechanical engineering and then get a masters degree in biomedical engineering.
As for the colleges that do have biomedical engineering programs, the important thing about choosing a school with these programs is that you should make sure you see what each school offers as a part of their program, since biomedical engineering is so broad. Are you more interested in designing artificial organs or building better medical imaging equipment? Look at what emphasis the college offers in biomedical engineering that might interest you. Look at what kind of research the professors are doing. Even if you don’t know what you are interested in, you should try to read up on the different aspects of biomedical engineering to get an idea.
- Johns Hopkins – Biomedical Engineering (Concentrations: Biological Systems Engineering; Cellular/Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials; Computational Biology; Imaging; and Sensors, Microsystems and Instrumentation)
- Georgia Institute of Technology – Biomedical Engineering
- UC Berkeley – Bioengineering (Concentrations: Synthetic Biology, Pre Med, Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Cell & Tissue Engineering, Biomedical Devices, Biomedical Imaging, Computational Bioengineering)
- Carnegie Mellon University – Biomedical Engineering (Concentrations: Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering)
- University of Southern California – Biomedical Engineering (Concentrations: Biochemical, Mechanical, Electrical)