The 2017-2018 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of UW’s Center for Bioengineering and the 20th anniversary of the creation of the UW Department of Bioengineering, a department jointly operated by the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and College of Engineering.
Founded in 1967 by Dr. Robert Rushmer, the center offered one of the first bioengineering programs in the United States. Today, it remains a national leader in innovative research, prepares students for their careers and makes an impact by improving health care. The department has been ranked among the top programs in the nation since its inception.
“UW Bioengineering’s anniversary is an opportunity to honor the innovative leaders who have come before us and the department’s many accomplishments that are a testament to the power of our collaborative approach,” says Cecilia Giachelli, chair of the department. “We will both celebrate UW Bioengineering’s success in building partnerships and engineering solutions to health problems, and envision what the coming decades hold for the department and the field.”
UW Center for Bioengineering/Department of Bioengineering achievements include:
- Modern Doppler ultrasound for heart and fetal monitoring
- First treadmills for cardiac testing
- The hemodialysis shunt
- Minimally invasive devices to treat gastrointestinal bleeding
- Rotablator tool that removes calcified plaque from coronary arteries
- The National Simulation Resource Physiome Project
- Pioneering “smart” polymers and hydrogels for non-fouling biomaterials surfaces
- Development of “smart” polymers for diagnostics and to deliver drugs to targeted cells
- STAR biomaterials, 3D scaffolds that promote blood vessel formation and healing
- Technology for the ultrasonic toothbrush
- Paper-based diagnostics to screen for disease in remote and low-resource settings
- Peptide based-therapeutics for bleeding, brain and cardiovascular disease
- Stem cell therapy to regenerate heart muscle
“As we look back on our history of shared innovation, we move forward with excitement about the future impact we will make,” Dr. Giachelli says. The department recently hired several new faculty in the area of neuroengineering, which will help propel UW toward its goal of building brain-computer interfaces for stroke, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions. In 2015, UW BioE hired a key group of researchers to expand its work in heart regeneration.
UW Bioengineering will host a number of events throughout the year to celebrate its milestones. Watch the UW Bioengineering 50/20 web site for details as they become available.
- 11-14: BMES, Phoenix
- November 2017: Allan S. Hoffman Lecture Honored Speaker: Allan S. Hoffman
- Winter: UW BioEngage symposia
- May 2018: BioE 50/20 Signature event, Robert F. Rushmer Lecture
In addition, as part of the 50/20 anniversary, UW Bioengineering plans to recognize community members with new awards.