Biomedical Engineering Department Takes Interdisciplinary Approach

Biomedical Engineering studentsThe College of Engineering Thursday celebrated the launch of a new department in the fast-growing field of Biomedical Engineering.

With the introduction of the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, CSULB becomes the only CSU in Southern California to offer a standalone degree in this area. Biomedical Engineering graduates will be able to apply their engineering, biology, bioinformatics, and biomechanical knowledge to create artificial organs, prostheses, medical instruments, healthcare management and delivery systems, and more.

“I’m really thankful to the committee that worked tirelessly to develop the curriculum,” said College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani.

Biomedical Engineering Chair Burkhard Englert said the degree is also significant for being the College of Engineering’s first interdisciplinary program. “Engineering is really an interdisciplinary effort. You can be very successful if you work together across disciplines,” he said. “There are an endless number of possibilities and that’s what’s so exciting about Biomedical Engineering.”

President Jane Close Conoley said the future of many fields lies in interdisciplinary work. Provost Brian Jersky pointed out that the California State University system produces one out of every 10 engineers in the country. “What we need to do,” he said, “is be at the forefront to develop the engineers and the researchers that this country needs.”

In attendance at Thursday’s inauguration were the Biomedical Engineering Department’s eight faculty, including assistant professors Perla Ayala, Emel Demircan, and David Stout.; lecturer Maryam Moussavi; associate professors Shadnaz Asgari; professors I-Hung Khoo and Roger Lo; and associate dean of research and graduate programs Hamid Rahai.

Members of the department’s industry advisory board included Leilani Domingo, Vice President of Group Process Development at Applied Medical; Serene Wachli, President of Applied Medical’s Horizon II Division; and Bruce Lau, Senior Manager of Risk Management at Peregrine Pharmaceuticals

Students say they’re excited about being among the 80 members of the first Biomedical Engineering class. “Biomedical Engineering has so many opportunities,” said Heather Latham, who transferred to Long Beach State from Santiago Canyon College.

Opportunities were also a draw for former Pasadena City College student Joselene Enriquez, who originally wanted to be a veterinarian.

The major’s interdisciplinary focus was another appeal. Maya Martinez said she couldn’t decide which area of the medical field to pursue. And former Irvine Valley College student Chris Howell said he had too many goals to settle on just one. For both of them, Biomedical Engineering provided the solution. “I’m just excited to be here,” Howell said.