Winter 2005

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(Fall 2005)

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Bioengineering Is 7th Speed Department

U of L President James Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz gave final approval in November for Speed School to form its seventh academic department.

"The new department of bioengineering, when fully operational in the next two to three years, should have 11 faculty, two research engineers and two administrative assistants," says Speed's bioenginneering director Rob Keynton.

"In addition to expanding our academic offerings, the department will greatly expand our research collaborations and joint and adjunct faculty appointments with the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences," he adds.

The department will enroll its first students in the five-year master of engineering degree program in fall 2005. In the next few years the department plans to develop a Ph.D. program as well, Kenyton says.

Bioengineering will focus its course offerings and research in four main areas: bioelectronics and biomedical devices, bioimaging and bioinformatics, biomechanics and rehabilitation, and molecular and tissue engineering.

Speed already has many research collaborations with the medical school to develop better devices to improve heart function, eyesight and disease detection via medical imagery among others.

As bioengineering director, Keynton's duties will be to promote bioengineering joint research across the university as well as put in place the structure of the new bioengineering department. The director position eventually will be dropped once a department chair is found, he says.

Speed Dean Mickey Wilhelm is forming a search committee to name a department chair. He says the goal is to appoint the chair by spring 2005.

By the end of 2005, Keynton says he expects the new department will have seven full-time faculty. Assistant professor Aoy Tomita-Mitchell is the first faculty member hired by the department. A faculty support position also has been filled.

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