UC Davis was my first stop on the Californian portion of my US trip. At UC Davis I met with Professor Angelique Louie and Professor Anthony Passerini.
The UC Davis bioengineering encapsulates a similar breadth to that of Imperial Bioengineering with opportunities for undergraduates to specialise in particular aspects of bioengineering as they progress to their senior years.
An interesting new addition to the undergraduate course is the TEAM prototyping lab which contains an exciting combination of six 3D printers, a 3D scanner, dedicated CAD computers, printed circuit board manufacturing, and laser machining on a range of materials.
TEAM stands for Translating Engineering Advances to Medicine, and the design course that utilises the facility is also innovative. A collaboration between business students and bioengineering undergraduates this team design project puts the students’ communication and team-working skills to the test as they work together to develop, design, produce and market their chosen ‘medically inspired’ project.
Translation seems to be the buzz word of the moment in US bioengineering. A number of the institutions that I have visited on my trip have been recipients of Coulter Foundation awards which funds translational research in biomedical engineering.
Another interesting initiative that I learnt about today was the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advance program, which aims to increase the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers. The flagship programme at University of Michigan was highlighted as a programme that illustrates the impact that investment in institutional change can bring, with the University now funding the continuation and expansion of the programme. The ADVANCE Program aims to improve the University of Michigan’s campus environment in four general areas:
• Recruitment — focuses on development and use of equitable recruiting practices
• Retention — focuses on preemptive strategies to prevent the loss of valued faculty
• Climate — focuses on improvement of departmental climate
• Leadership — focuses on support for development of leadership skills and opportunities as well as on support for development of skills among all academic leaders to encourage supportive climates.
Although not identical the NSF Advance programme shares some similarities with the Athena Swan programme in the UK.
Women in science and engineering is an issue I feel very strongly about, which is why I am supportive of grass roots initiatives such as Science Grrl who are tackling the low numbers of women and girls in STEM from the grass roots up. I have the privilege of being the March Science Grrl you can read the guest blog that I wrote for them here .
‘Til next post