Virginia Tech forms Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics


January 5th, 2015


Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering announces the launch of a new engineering department formed through the merger of its Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Currently, the biomedical engineering faculty members play a leading role in the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences that also involves the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“Engineering science and mechanics has a long and rich history of success in newly-emerging research fields, said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering and the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair. With input from the faculty and staff of this department as well as the biomedical engineering faculty, the new home will be called Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM), reflecting the lineage of both programs.

Stefan Duma, who currently heads both the biomedical engineering program and the school, will lead the newly-merged department.

Duma holds the Harry C. Wyatt Professorship, and is world renowned for his research in injury biomechanics.

A motivating factor for this merger is that this partnership will enhance Virginia Tech’s ability to offer a new bachelor-of-science degree in biomedical engineering.

By combining elements of the fundamentals of mechanics with biomedical applications, the new degree will be a first-of-its-kind program that will position students for future industry or graduate education possibilities in the rapidly growing biomedical fields.

“I see many advantages to this merger. The combination of the fundamental mechanics of engineering science and mechanics with the growing applications of biomedical engineering will provide unlimited opportunities as global research efforts focus on biomedical applications,” said Benson.

“I greatly appreciate the advice and visionary thinking that has come my way from faculty, staff, students, and alumni as I have sought a course that will maintain Virginia Tech’s historic strength in engineering mechanics and in engineering science,” Benson added.

The faculty members in these two departments also have significant engagement with Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, the Virginia Tech-Carilion Research Institute, the Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

No changes in curricula will result due to this merger, and the engineering science and mechanics branch of the new department will continue with its long-standing responsibility for the sophomore-year mechanics courses in the College of Engineering.

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Volunteer Research Opportunity

VStudents from the department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics along with Dr. Nicole Abaid are conducting a Senior Design Project titled "Controlling Crowds Through Human-Robot Interactions." The goal of this project is to study how we can use a human-robot interaction to influence the movement of a group of people. To test our study, we will be performing an interactive experiment using a mobile robot and human participants in The Cube Lab at Moss Arts Center.

We are looking for student volunteers! Students will have an opportunity to participate in university research, and gain exposure to robotics, dynamics, and motion capture analysis in a state of the art lab.

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