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UTA Biomedical Engineering Program Elevated to Department Status; Gets New Name

April 29, 2005

The Biomedical Engineering program at The University of Texas at Arlington has become the Department of Bioengineering. Dean of Engineering Bill Carroll stated that the change was brought about by the continuing growth of activities within the program.

Begun in 1974 as a joint effort with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, the program and the field of engineering for health care has experienced a major expansion over the last decade due to new discoveries in biotechnology. These included the discovery of methods to manipulate cells and sub cellular structures as well as building biocompatible materials that serve as scaffolds for the growth of tissue. The title of “biomedical engineering” has traditionally referred to the development of mechanical and electronic instruments that assist clinicians in their diagnosis and treatment of disease, rather than the development of bioprocesses or cellular manipulation. The name “bioengineering” has emerged to encompass both the traditional practice of developing devices for improved health care as well as new technologies that deal with cell and tissue engineering.

Professor Khosrow Behbehani, who was director of the program but is now chair of the department, said that the core components of the department – the joint efforts with UT Southwestern and UTA’s Biology Department – will remain intact. “What is changing is our opportunity to add component degrees in association with other areas such as chemistry and physics in addition to the other departments within the College of Engineering. This flexibility will allow us to address the new areas that are emerging in bioengineering.”

The new department will consist of seven full-time and one part-time faculty members, plus 20 doctoral, 136 master’s and 50 undergraduate students. The undergraduates are part of a five-year program with UTA’s Biology Department that allows students to earn a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering.

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