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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion University Creates Biomedical Engineering Institute

Pulling together expertise from across the University, and attempting to fill a research and economic need in Hampton Roads, the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology has launched the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Institute at Old Dominion.

The Institute will be home for undergraduate through Ph.D. programs in BME, the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes. It builds on decades of research at Old Dominion University combining engineering and the biological sciences.

"We have now stood up an organizational home for our BME programs," said Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal. "It is an exciting new step after the recent relocation of all the BME labs into our new Engineering Systems Building. We hope to expand our footprint in the region with the collaboration of our sister Colleges of Sciences and Health Sciences."

BME has been identified as an important new frontier of research and economic development nationwide, including here in Hampton Roads. Old Dominion University has invested in research combining engineering and biological sciences for more than a generation, through laboratories such as the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, and the Laser & Plasma Engineering Institute.

Dean Krusienski, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, will be director of the Institute. "Cutting-edge biomedical engineering and related research has been a cornerstone of ODU for many years," he said.

"The Biomedical Engineering Institute gives these campus-wide efforts a much-needed identity and better positions us for continued growth of our research and academic programs. I am excited about working with the ODU faculty, students, and the local healthcare industry to bring the Institute to prominence in Virginia."

The University graduated its first three Ph.D. students in biomedical engineering at this spring's Commencement. One of the students, Nick Waytowich of Jacksonville, Fla., was lead author in an academic article published in the respected Journal of Neural Engineering. He is continuing research into brain-computer interfaces during post-doctoral studies at Columbia University.

In addition to the Ph.D. program, the Institute houses BME master's degree program, an advanced engineering certificate and an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in BME.

Baysal said BME research has thrived in different pockets of the University for several years. "The creation of a BME Institute will give the already ongoing research a formal identity and organization at Old Dominion. This will help increase the visibility of the research and help strength internal partnerships, particularly with the Reidy Center and the Colleges of Sciences and Health Sciences," he said.

In addition, the Institute will help forge relationships with local clinical, research and industry partners, including Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara, and the nearly 20 institutions and companies that comprise Bioscience Hampton Roads.

"This will, in turn, better facilitate collaboration, allowing Old Dominion to be more competitive for larger-scale funding opportunities through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, where teams that include biomedical engineers, scientists and clinicians have become commonplace," Baysal said.

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