Bioengineering: A Half Century of Progress, But Still Only a Beginning

In the last half century the modern era of biomedical engineering has emerged, and with this there has been a technological revolution in health care.  In parallel biology has undergone a revolution, and this biological revolution now is demanding an engineering revolution. With this there has been the emergence of a biology-based engineering, i.e. bioengineering, and today in the U.S. alone there are more than 70 bioengineering departments.  This revolution, however, is global in nature with exciting developments taking place in Europe and Asia as well.  Other more traditional engineering fields also have recognized the importance of the bio world.  The medical device and diagnostics in industry also is changing due to the convergence of the biological revolution with it, and there will be new biology-based industries. In the future one can foresee there being just as many applications outside of the medical field as within it.  Thus, as we move further into the 21st century, the changes in bioengineering will be just as dramatic as those in the last 50 years, and the opportunities for those entering the field will be just as exciting.

Dr. Nerem joined Georgia Tech in 1987 as the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine. He currently serves as the Director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, and he also is the Director of the Georgia Tech/Emory Center (GTEC) for the Engineering of Living Tissues, an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center. Professor Nerem is the author of more than 200 publications. He is a Fellow and was the founding President of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (1992-1994), and he is past President of the Tissue Engineering Society International. Research interests include biomechanics, cardiovascular devices, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and stem cell technology.