Building on the success of its undergraduate program, the West Virginia University Board of Governors has approved a graduate program in biomedical engineering. The program, which will award degrees at both the master’s and doctoral levels, will be offered in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources starting in the fall semester of this year.
The focus of the graduate program will be to prepare students to be skilled in learning and discovering processes that aim to integrate engineering and life sciences for the advancement of human health and medical technologies.
Cerasela Zoica Dinu, associate chair of biomedical engineering, sees opportunities for the program to foster a collaborative research culture with partners across the campus as well as spurring economic development in the region.
“The Statler College’s proximity to the WVU Health Sciences Center and the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute will help cultivate a network-based community between biomedical engineering students and clinical partners for the production and application of new knowledge in areas that impact the health and well-being of West Virginia’s citizens,” said Dinu. “We also expect to enhance the attractiveness of WVU and West Virginia to outside medical companies considering relocating here, and to stimulate a more robust local infrastructure in the discipline.”
Students in the program, Dinu said, will work with faculty who are conducting research in a number of areas including neural and biomechanical mechanisms that lead to movement and inhibit disease progression, biomedical ultrasound imaging, targeted drug delivery and bioreactors and biosensors for toxicology screening and early diagnosis.
“From working on ways of controlling cell behavior and tissue functions to understanding the impacts of various agents on cells and providing novel platforms for toxicology screening and early diagnosis, students who choose to study in our program will have access to cutting-edge research projects,” Dinu said.
“In 2014, we successfully launched the state’s first undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, which has been very well received by our students,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Adding this graduate program – the only one of its kind in the state – is the right next step. We are very excited about the opportunities this new degree provides for increased collaborations with the HSC and to the recruitment and startup of new bio-related businesses in West Virginia.”