Biomedical Engineering Search and Evolution

Biomedical Engineering integrates physical, chemical, mathematical, and computational sciences and engineering principles to study biology, medicine, behavior, and health. It advances fundamental concepts; creates knowledge from the molecular to the organ systems level; and develops innovative biologics, materials, processes, implants, devices and informatics approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, for patient rehabilitation, and for improving health. (NIH working definition; July 24, 1997)

Vanderbilt University offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering (BME), the newest of the campus’s engineering-degree programs. The VU program awarded its first master’s degree in 1982 and its first Ph.D. degree in 1983. It’s mission statement can be found at A national search is currently underway for a new chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. In parallel with that, discussions are underway to consider the direction of BME’s continuing evolution. Outside of the BME Department but within the School of Engineering, there is bio-related research activity in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Building stronger relationships between faculty in the School of Engineering and (1) those in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and (2) science faculty throughout the campus would be advantageous to all concerned. Exploring ways to strengthen those relationships is an ongoing planning activity.