College Establishes New Bioengineering Department
Positioning itself to capitalize on one of the fastest-growing research and academic segments in the United States, in January the College of Engineering will establish a new Bioengineering Department.
In the planning stages for more than four years, the department will raise the college and university’s research proﬁle and funding and respond to the demands of an increasing number of engineering students who want to major in bioengineering – which involves applying engineering concepts in medicine, biology, the environment and biotechnology.
Thee department, which will include faculty members from both the College of Engineering and Temple University’s School of Medicine, will eventually offer both graduate and undergraduate degree programs. The college’s fourth department will be chaired by Peter I. Lelkes, PhD, who for the past 11 years has been the Calhoun Chair Professor of Cellular Tissue Engineering in Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.
“What most excites me is the opportunity to build a new department from scratch and to build it into a program of excellence that will attract students to Temple because if its superb faculty and reputation, says Lelkes, who has been appointed both the Laura H. Carnell Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Bioengineering and the inaugural director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering (TIME) at the School of Medicine. “I’m also really intrigued by the opportunity to forge an interface between the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine.
“During the past 11 years I’ve seen bioengineering become a focus for some of the best students who come to Drexel and I think it can be a similar magnet for Temple
Underscoring the interdisciplinary nature of bioengineering, the College of Science and Technology is also expected to collaborate, and Lelkes also is looking forward to working with the Shriners Hospital for Children, particularly on spinal cord issues.
“I’ve worked closely with Dr. Lelkes for a number of years and he’s going to be a wonderful chair, says Tony Lowman, PhD, who came from Drexel’s College of Engineering in July and became the vice provost for research in the Temple University Oﬃce of Research. “He’s an energetic leader who does not stop.
“I am delighted that Dr. Peter Lelkes, an outstanding and world-renown bioengineering academician and researcher, will be assuming such a vital leadership role at Temple University through a joint-appointment in the College of Engineering and School of Medicine, said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS, Senior Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at Temple University and Dean ” President/CEO of the School of Medicine and Health System. “Dr. Lelkes’ leadership of the newly-created Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering will facilitate a productive collaboration between those two disciplines that will translate into new and improved therapies for patients. We are especially excited about the potential for enhanced and integrated investigations in the areas of musculoskeletal tissue re-engineering, re-vascularization of engineered tissues, cell-biomaterials interactions, and the development of bioactive surgical tools and organ-assist devices, as well as artificial organs.
The new department, which within three to ﬁve years will include 10 faculty members, will begin in January by focusing on graduate programming to expand the current master’s program and introduce a PhD doctoral program. The department expects to begin accepting its ﬁrst freshmen bioengineering majors two years from now, in the fall of 2013. That class would begin taking upper level bioengineering courses in 2015 and would graduate in 2017.
Eventually the department expects to have 40 graduate students and 150 undergraduates.
“Adding the Bioengineering Department to our existing departments – Civil Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering – makes the college much more comprehensive,” says Dean Keya Sadeghipour, PhD. “It will also significantly enhance our competitive position for attracting research funding and the most qualified students.