Published July 3, 2012
The Department of Biomedical Engineering graduated its first class this spring, a milestone for the fast-growing program that focuses on developing medical devices and therapies.
Of the 12 undergraduates who matriculated, the majority plan to enroll in UB’s new biomedical engineering graduate program. The program, which starts this fall, will offer master’s and doctoral degrees.
Those who choose not to pursue graduate degrees are expected to immediately enter the workforce, which has a great need for biomedical engineers.
Enrollment in the UB biomedical engineering department—a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences—has steadily climbed since its inception two years ago.
There were 56 students in 2010 and 137 in 2011.
This fall, enrollment is expected to reach 195 students.
“The department is growing very rapidly, but that’s not too surprising because there’s clear demand in the workplace for biomedical engineers,” said Albert H. Titus, PhD, department co-chair and an associate professor in electrical engineering.
The U.S. Labor Department projects the need for biomedical engineers will jump 62 percent through 2020, a rate much higher than most occupations.
The average salary for biomedical engineers in the United States is $88,360, according to the department’s recent figures.
Created with the support of the John R. Oishei Foundation, which provided $3 million toward its establishment, the biomedical engineering department is based on the university’s North Campus. Researchers and students collaborate with the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Additionally, faculty are working to advance several of the UB 2020 strategic strengths, including Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan, Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics and Integrated Nanostructured Systems.
The UB department is expected to advance and support the region’s already strong medical device industry by spinning off new technologies and businesses as well as creating a highly skilled pool of graduates.
Students interested in biomedical engineering—a field that applies engineering principles to medicine—enter UB’s program from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering, medicine and pharmacy.
North Tonawanda native Jessica Utzig transferred into the department from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences two years ago. She graduated last month and plans to enter UB’s graduate program later this year.
“There are so many avenues to pursue, but I’m really interested in devices,” said Utzig, a summer intern at Greatbatch, a local manufacturer of implantable medical devices and other technologies developed by biomedical engineers.