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Educational Partnerships are Critical

Partnerships are critical to the success of the educational programs of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Without collaborations with other departments and schools at Purdue, links to other universities, and internships and research opportunities with industry, the uniquely successful educational programs that are the hallmark of the Weldon School would not be possible.

Education at the Weldon School begins with a novel undergraduate program that builds on both the Purdue Engineering model and the hands-on learning appraches pioneered by Proffessor Leslie A. Geddes.  This highly competitive bachelors degree program is limited to only 72 students per class and will receive formal ABET accreditation this fall.  Students learn engineering fundamentals of analysis, problem-solving, design, and teamwork, solely in the content of biology and physiology. The integrated curriculum includes hands-on problem based learning through intensive laboratory coursework and projects encompassing real-life clinical and industrial problems.  In addition, all undergraduate students complete at least one research experience or industrial internship, for example, working with R&D departments at organizations like the world leader in hospital and home health care equipment, Hill-Rom.

The Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program offers students opportunities to engage in highly collaborative research efforts with such partners as the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, through such programs as the recently NIH funded Program in Quantitative Physiology. These alliances offer the more than 100 students in the program an unprecedented array of research topics, expertise, and facilities, allowing them to move ideas from the bench top to the pre-clinical stage within their graduate program tenure.

Students also benefit from a diversity of mentorship expertise ranging from engineering to clinical applications.  The graduate program was initially bolstered in 1999 by the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (NSFIGERT) grant in therapeutic and diagnostic devices that supported the development of numerous interdisciplinary alliances, and courses.  In 2006, the graduate program was ranked, for the first time, by U.S. News and World Reports as the 36th best in the nation.  This ranking improved to 24th in 2007 and again to 20th in 2008.