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Innovative Beginnings

For more than 30 years, biomedical engineering at Purdue has been a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that is focused on finding practical solutions to pressing medical problems.

One of the first actions taken by Dr. Leslie A Geddes when he arrived at Purdue to lead the new research center in 1974 was to change the way intellectual property was processed and patented providing incentivess researchers to develop solutions and to departments to support those efforts.  Combined with the ability of Dr. Geddes and the original research team to challenge students academically and professionally, this resulted in numerous advances and products – particularly in the field of implantable cardiovascular devices – and in Purdue being recognized for its creativity and biomedial engineering innovations, before there was even a formal program in place. 

The research center grew to become the Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center, and then in 1998, the the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the first new Purdue engineering department in more than 40 years.  Subsequently, with generous private contributions, the department became the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, the first named school within the College of Engineering at Purdue. 

From its inception, biomedical engineering at Purdue was multidisciplinary, with faculty and students from mechanical, electrical, and other engineering departments.  This expanded over time to include the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, and other academic units at Purdue, as well as the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Today, the school has a diverse faculty that includes members from six Purdue Colleges: Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Pharmacy, Science, and Veterinary Medicine. This academic diversity provides an expanding array of expertise and capabilities to meet the challenges of a new decade.