Build upon your strengths

Yesterday I was at Stanford University and a key message came through in all three of my meetings, which was ‘build upon your strengths’.

The Department of Bioengineering was founded in 2003. But what I think is particularly unique about Stanford’s approach is that prior to the formation of the Department the cross-Faculty Bio-X was formed in 1998 and Biodesign in 2001. In most other universities the research theme has driven the formation of the Department, Stanford is different.

In my post about Johns Hopkins I mentioned that the Department of Bioengineering was part of both the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering, which I thought was unusual.

We are bilingual

Professor Youseph Yazdi, Executive Director of the Centre for Bioengineering Innovation and Design at Johns Hopkins University describes biomedical engineers as bilingual with an ability to speak both the language of medicine and the language of engineering, a hybrid in the engineering world.

Recognition of this bilingual nature comes through the Department of Bioengineering at Johns Hopkins University being both in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering. For Professor Yazdi biomedical engineering is the application of engineering tools and mindset to biological problems. He really believes, and I would agree, that bioengineers think differently. Johns Hopkins is reported as the top biomedical engineering/ bioengineering department in the USA.

Innovation, invention, industry and impact

Day 2 was the tale of the four I’s innovation, invention, industry and impact. All words we are aware of in the UK but the people I met at Northeastern University and MIT today are doing things a little bit differently.

From a bioengineering perspective I have already realised that it is a very heterogeneous landscape here in the USA. MIT have their very specific approach BU theres and Northeastern a different approach again.

Northeastern’s Department of Bioengineering was officially founded in January 2014, that’s not a typo that really was last month. Previously there has been, as in other institutions a lot of biomedical engineering research undertaken in different engineering Departments.