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New biomedical engineering partnership looks to boost educational opportunities

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

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The Department of Biomedical Engineering will partner with the Medical College of Wisconsin in July to form a Biomedical Engineering Department that offers improved educational opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.

The new offerings include labs at both campuses and hands-on practice in the region’s hospitals and clinics. Students will also have the opportunity to have co-advisors at both Marquette and MCW.

Kristina Ropella, dean of the College of Engineering, said work toward this expansion started about two years ago.

“In order to be competitive and attract the best students and faculty and continue to be a leading edge of research in the area, we really needed to grow and develop activity in new ways,” Ropella said.

Andrew Greene, director of the MCW Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering Center, said this partnership is MCW’s first joint department that will be fully integrated across two institutions.

“It will set a tone in the community that biomedical science is a very collaborative industry,” Greene said. “We think that this will open the door for all kinds for collaborative grants.”

The department will have one chair that will report to a dean at each institution. The search for the chair will begin in April, Ropella said.

A total of 10 new faculty members from a mix of different specialties will be recruited over the next five to six years to make up the new program.

Graduate students will be the only ones to receive degrees from both Marquette and MCW upon completion of the new program. Undergraduate students will continue to receive degrees from only Marquette.

Lars Olson, associate professor and interim chair of biomedical engineering at Marquette, said the department will collaborate and greatly contribute to the community’s biomedical technology industry.

“Milwaukee is the epicenter of medical device development,” he said.

Greene also said the new department will actively collaborate with surrounding biomedical technology companies to solve today’s medical issues.

The partnership does not require either institution to build additional facilities, but MCW plans to renovate existing space to accommodate students. Greene said Marquette will co-brand the department’s space with MCW’s logo.

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