Biomedical Society Sparks InterestBy Shang-Lin Chuang
One year after the creation of the Biomedical Engineering minor, the Biomedical Engineering Society held its first meeting last week with about 70 students in attendance.
BMES, which is part of a national society, was started this spring because "there are lots of students at MIT interested in [Biomedical Engineering] and they don't know the huge number of resources that MIT has," said Isaac George '97, one of the founders of the group. "One way to help them is to have a student club."
Biomedical engineering includes any branch of engineering - including electrical, mechanical, and chemical - that is applied to solving problems in biology, said Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Linda G. Griffith-Cima, who is one of the co-chairs of the minor. "The field's basic goal is usually a therapeutic one."
Director of the Center for BME Douglas A. Lauffenburger spoke about the different research projects available in the field at the society's first meeting.
BMES will hold its second meeting on Oct. 2, with another guest speaker.
BMES was started this spring by George, Melissa J. Lambeth '97, Hemant Taneja '97, and Hank M. Link '97. The society's faculty advisor is Professor of Mechanical Engineering Roger D. Kamm PhD '77, the associate director of the Center for BME.
Student interest in BME is up
BMES was originally started about four years ago, but because of a lack of interest, it faded out of existence, Kamm said.
The new minor helped to raise interest in the group again, Kamm said.
"The way engineering interfaces with biology is changing, and there is a huge number of student interested in this field, " Griffith-Cima said.
"The goal of the society is to give students a forum to learn about what BME has to offer them from professionals in the field," Griffith-Cima said.
More than 200 freshmen expressed interest at the academic and activities midways during Residence and Orientation Week, Kamm said.
"The society's goal is mainly to provide services to students who are interested in BME as a career," Kamm said.
BMES will compile student resumes and send them to companies and will also create a list of Undergraduate Research Oppor-tunities Program projects in the field of BME, Kamm said.
Students from all fields of engineering and science can join the group, Lambeth said. "There was a large percentage of biology majors present at the meeting. They see and understand the need to incorporate technology to their line of research."
"BME includes such a broad range of research, from molecular biology to all others. All majors fit right in," Taneja said.
People are confused about what BME is, and "one of our goals is to inform people of the possibilities this area of research can offer," Lambeth said.