New University of Waterloo degree to close the gap between medicine and engineering

Maud Gorbet, chair of the Committee for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo which will offer a new degree in biomedical engineering from Fall 2014 that closes the gap between medicine and engineering. (CNW Group/University of Waterloo)

WATERLOO, ON, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - The University of Waterloo will offer a new degree in biomedical engineering from Fall 2014 that closes the gap between medicine and engineering.

The new undergraduate program will be housed in the Faculty of Engineering's Department of Systems Design Engineering and will build on Waterloo's foundation of leadership in experiential education, engineering and technology.

The unique curriculum will have a strong focus on the modeling and design of biomedical systems that will be used to develop new technologies and engineering solutions to health-related problems.

The program draws on the expertise of six departments including Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Biology, and Kinesiology from across three of Waterloo's Faculties.

"The combination of interdisciplinary faculty expertise and the growing need for highly-skilled researchers and practitioners makes it the ideal time to introduce this new approach to biomedical engineering education," said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Waterloo Engineering. "I am confident the research advances and technologies that will emerge from this area will address some critical health-care challenges.  It will fundamentally lead to improvements in the human condition."

CareerCast.com places biomedical engineering as the top job in health care in 2014 and the second-best job in the United States. The field is expected to grow by 62 per cent within the next decade.

Waterloo's biomedical engineering curriculum is geared toward three areas: biosignals and imaging, biomechanics and sports engineering, and biomedical devices.

Graduates from the program will be ideally suited to contribute directly to the Canadian biomedical and health economy, armed with the skills and knowledge required to work in hospitals, clinical research institutions, the medical device and medical imaging industries, bioinformatics, biomedical sensors industry, and regulatory agencies. 

While other Canadian institutions offer biomedical engineering, the Waterloo Engineering program has a substantial design component that differentiates it from other universities.

"There will be a design course each term that focuses on the biomedical, biomechanics and biodevice themes," said Paul Fieguth, chair of Systems Design Engineering. "This will ensure that students graduate with the technical skills they need to model complex biomedical systems, interpret biomedical experimental results, and design and develop innovative technologies in close collaboration with the medical community." 

Extensive research went into ensuring the program offers the right combination of high-impact courses and work-place experience. The first Biomedical Engineering class will be limited to 45 students and will increase to a maximum of 90. It is anticipated that admissions for 2014 will be highly competitive because of strong interest in the field. 

"When we developed the curriculum we surveyed industries in various areas of biomedical engineering to determine what they were looking for in biomedical engineers to make sure our undergraduate training would meet their needs," said Maud Gorbet, chair of the Committee for Biomedical Engineering. "The program will be unique in Canada due to its strong focus on the modeling and design, combined with a co-operative education experience. It will be a completely immersive experience." 

The University of Waterloo has invested in biomedical research and development in recent years and opened the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology in 2012.

About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

SOURCE University of Waterloo

Image with caption: "Maud Gorbet, chair of the Committee for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo which will offer a new degree in biomedical engineering from Fall 2014 that closes the gap between medicine and engineering. (CNW Group/University of Waterloo)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131209_C8961_PHOTO_EN_34701.jpg

For further information:

Media Contact
Nick Manning
University of Waterloo
519-888-4451
226-929-7627
nmanning@uwaterloo.ca
www.uwaterloo.ca/news
@uWaterlooNews 

Attention broadcasters: Waterloo has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds with a double-ender studio. Please contact Nick Manning on 519-888-4451 or 226-929-7627 for more information.