April 10, 2000
Volume 52, No. 28
Emory, Georgia Tech offer Ph.D. in biomed engineering
BY HOLLY KORSCHUN
Beginning this fall the Georgia Tech/Emory Department of Biomedical Engineering will offer a new joint Ph.D. degree that will be a unique combination of public and private education, as well as medicine and engineering.
Emory and Georgia Tech created the department in 1997 to jointly contribute to and benefit from research in biomedical engineering, with the potential for major breakthroughs in medicine, basic science and applied technology. The doctoral degree will be conferred by both institutions to graduates of the program.
"Graduates of the new Ph.D. program will be well qualified for positions in teaching and research at education and medical institutions, in industry, hospitals, law and government regulatory agencies," said Don Giddens, chair of the department. Giddens, who was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Engineering before joining Georgia Tech and Emory, reports jointly to Jean-Lou Chameau, dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, and to Thomas Lawley, dean of the Emory School of Medicine.
Areas of concentration within the new degree include cardiovascular mechanics and biology, cellular and tissue engineering, neurosciences/engineering, biomedical imaging, and biomedical modeling and computing. For technologically oriented students who also are interested in medical applications, the degree combines an understanding of advanced technology with patient care and clinical research.
The biomedical engineering department is housed at Georgia Tech within the new Petit Institute of Bioengin-eering and Bioscience building. At Emory, the department is located in the Wood-ruff Memorial Building. The department currently has 10 faculty members, and an additional 18 full-time faculty will be added over the next five-to-six years.
The public-private partnership created by the department extends biomedical collaborations between Emory and Georgia Tech that have been building for more than 13 years. The two schools first created a joint Biomedical Technology Research Center in 1987, allowing each to take full advantage of the other's unique strengths in medicine and engineering.
In 1990 the Georgia Research Alliance was formed to unite the state's resources in education, industry and government. Three years later the Whitaker Foundation awarded Georgia Tech a major grant to expand biomedical engineering in partnership with Emory. In 1995 the two institutions established a joint M.D./Ph.D. program, with the medical degree coming from Emory and the Ph.D. in bioengineering from Tech.
In 1998 the National Science Foundation awarded Georgia Tech, with Emory as its partner, $12.5 million to establish the Georgia Tech-Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues (GTEC). The center's vision is to harness advances in molecular and cell biology to create biological substitute tissues that incorporate living cells and synthetic or natural materials. Many of the faculty within the Department of Biomedical Engineering have research projects within GTEC.