Blending biomedical expertise

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Blending biomedical expertise

Marquette and the Medical College of Wisconsin announced the creation of a joint biomedical engineering department that melds the strengths of both institutions to train the next generation of engineers, scientists and physicians.

The department blends Opus College of Engineering expertise in engineering education and research with MCW’s innovative clinical practice and stature as the biggest medical research engine in Southeast Wisconsin. The joint venture will build the region’s reputation as a hub for research in one of the technology sector’s fastest-growing areas and create an international destination for students and faculty who are passionate about biomedical engineering.

“It’s a really exciting time for biomedical engineering right now,” says Dr. Lars Olson, interim chair of the newly formed department. “There is an opportunity for real growth at both institutions and growth in the Southeast Wisconsin community. It’s exciting because there will be new collaborations that couldn’t have existed before.”

Opus Dean Kristina Ropella, Eng ’85, sees opportunities for more mentorship, new opportunities for women in STEM fields, and a chance for Marquette and MCW to play a leading role in the establishment of ethical codes in an emerging industry. She says the partnership will boost the college’s already robust efforts to give students the skills that employers are looking for. “Because we’ve listened to what industry needs are, we have a curriculum that works,” Ropella says.

The joint department will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students will work in state-of-the-art labs at both campuses. They will have access to hands-on experiences with industry partners, hospitals and clinics, where they’ll work with engineers and physicians focusing on innovations to benefit patients and the community. “There’s a lot of interest from students, who are taking a look at all the increased opportunities they can have here,” Olson says. “Graduate students see a lot more research opportunities. Our industry partners see more opportunities. Our colleagues around the country see more opportunities to come to this department and be able to make a bigger impact.” — CJ

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