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A BMES STUDENT PUBLICATION FOR THE COMMUNITY OF BME grouped together as a team to courses get the sense of what it’s work through Biomedical Engilike to be a biomedical engineer.” neering problems that are so comThe PBL approach is not only plex that one could not solve them original, but it steers students on his own. away from dependence on the fa“The multidisciplinary nature cilitator, and allows them to beof the [BME] field demands that come self-directed learners. Acstudents develop multidisciplinary cording to Maricopa Center of skills and Learning, PBL is k n o w lboth a curriculum “It really feels like you’re doing edge,” and a process. biomedical engineering” said Dr. The curriculum We n d y consists of carefully Monica Liou ’10 Newstetter. “We felt that it was selected and designed problems necessary for students very early that demand acquisition of critical In the past and present, most in their careers to be able to solve knowledge, problem solving procollege courses are taught using very complicated problems, beficiency, self-directed learning traditional methods: professors cause in solving problems is strategies, and team participation teach and give assignments to stuwhere you see the interaction of skills from the learner. The procdents, and students complete them the engineering and the biology ess replicates the commonly used before the deadline. However, the studies.” systemic approach to resolving department of Biomedical EngiUsing this method, professors problems or meeting challenges neering is utilizing a new learning and facilitators of BMED1300/ that are encountered in life and method that emerged not long ago: 2300 are able to challenge stucareer. Problem-Based Learning (PBL). dents to work cooperatively in a In order to excel in PBL, a The concept of PBL was cregroup and seek solutions to real student must not only be intelliated to teach BME students imporworld problems. Students find this gent and driven, but (pg. 2) tant reasoning skills. Instead of method effective as well because ordinary techniques, students are it gives them a glimpse of what a What’s Inside biomedical enBMES: a history 3 gineer truly is. “[The apBME classified 4 proach] is very empowering,” Inn-Inn Chen 4 Newstetter said, Bost comes to BMES 5 “because it really feels like April Events 6 you’re doing biomedical enThe Boyan Lab 7 gineering. Students in these Photo by: Patrick Shannon ‘10
Problem Based Learning: a new way to train today’s top Biomedical Engineers
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BMES Pioneer Editorial Board
Editor in Chief Aileen Li ‘10 Layout Editors Lexi Torres ‘09 Michael Zhang ‘10 Features Editor Alysia Rudis ‘09 Staff Writers Inez Falcon ‘10 Rebekah Hamrick ‘10 Melody Keith ‘09 Monica Liou ‘10 Staff Photographers Christopher Cooper ‘10 Kiersten Petersen ‘10 Patrick Shannon ’10 Development Editors Alice Chan ‘10 Sharon Owino ‘08 Rohan Trivedi ‘10
also passionate and cooperative. will have an identified group of “The PBL rooms provide an people who know this well and excellent environment for the stutake it very seriously.” dents to work together on the Although there may be some complex, open-ended problems cases of unfair grades, the majorthey are challenged with,” said Dr. ity of students are happy with the Joseph Le Doux. “The students grades they receive. [that excelled in my group] took “Since this class is based on leadership roles in their groups, improvement, I think that the fully engaged in each problem, grades I’ve been earning are delved into the problems, and used where they need to be in order to w h a t get a t h e y g o o d “You have the responsibility individually to determine how are you going to learn and the learned grade,” depth of your learning.” to help Garrett solve said. the problem, teaching their group As a result, PBL has posimembers what they learned.” tively impacted students. The stuMany students also feel that a dents are left with a feeling of inbig part of solving a problem is dependence and confidence. being able to put everybody’s “Although this course is very knowledge and collaborate. demanding, I think that the stu“Teamwork goes hand in hand dents do have a sense of accomwith engineering. You have to plishment and achievement and I work as a team and build off of think that’s very positive for their each other’s knowledge for it to desire to stay in the major,” Newwork,” said Kellis Garrett, a first stetter said. year. “I ask my group a lot of “For me, the message that stuquestions and that brings us fordents should get from leaving this ward as a group, because we all course is to use the classroom as a understand what’s going on.” vehicle for growing your knowl“The collaboration of many edge,” Newstetter said. “You have different perspectives; while it the responsibility individually as a may be time consuming, enhances learner to determine how are you the opportunities for growth and going to learn and the depth of creativity. I think these two things your learning.” are paramount to engineering,” agreed Lexi Torres, a second year. Both the direction the group takes and the solution that the group reaches are determined by the students in the group. While this course offers many benefits, it is not free of problems, one of which is its objectivity. “The challenge in this course is having any kind of standardization across the facilitators,” Newstetter said. “Some facilitators take it very seriously, who are very engaged in their groups, while others are not. My hope is that as we get a larger faculty so that we Photo by: Patrick Shannon ‘10
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BMES: A History Inez Falcon ‘10 The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) at Georgia Tech was founded in 1999, with its first president of the Georgia Tech chapter Stephanie Kladakis, and its first vice president Joe Berglund. In the fall of 2003, the BMES constitution was written.
The first election was held in the spring of the following year (2004), followed by the first paying members that fall. The objectives of BMES are to promote the biomedical engineering profession, and to familiarize students with the biomedical engineering major and all it entails, including its ideas and objectives. At Georgia Tech, BME mainly focuses on cell and tissue engineering, biomolecular engineering and biomechanics. In addition, BMES works to create a network of social interaction for both undergraduates and graduates, and a
group of people to present and exchange ideas. To achieve its objectives, BMES organizes monthly lectures from speakers from biomedical engineering industries, sends outstanding students to National BMES Conferences, and organizes social events and opportunities for members. Furthermore, BMES publishes its monthly newsletter, the BME Pioneer, and provides students with the BMED Word Archive, which is comprised of assignments
The best way to get involved in BMES, according to Gill, is through joining a committee and/ or participating in various BMES events. There are nine positions in BMES. These positions include four officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer), and five committee chairs, which head the committees of industry, fundraising, public relations, social, and education. Officers and committee chairs are elected every year in late March or early April,
and exams from BMED courses in the past years. So far this year, industry speakers have included Mr. Jason White of CardioMEMS, Mr. John Davis of Medtronic, and Mr. Franklin Bost of Celonova Biosciences, just to name a few. In addtion, many BMES members participated in judging at the State Science Fair at University of Georgia. “The BME department is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Angela Gill, president of BMES. “And this means that we need you to take an active role in forming the best community possible.”
Photo courtesy of BMES and all BMES members with good standing are encouraged to participate in the election to help improve the society. To find out more about BMES, check out its website at www.gtbmed.com.
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In n In n C h e n Named to USA Today’s All-USA College Ac ademic Team redirected from: http://www.coe.gatech.edu/feature/fe ature2.php
We all know that Georgia Tech students are outstanding, but currently one College of Engineering undergraduate, Inn-Inn Chen, a junior in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, is standing out among the rest. Inn-Inn has been working as an undergraduate student researcher in the laboratory of Associate Professor Julia Babensee since the fall of 2005. The challenging project she is working on is in a novel area of biomaterials research for use in medical devices. It is expected that Inn-Inn’s
studies will lead to the development of biomaterials with improved integration into the patient for better acceptance and function of medical devices. This research is at the cutting edge of immunology, and Inn-Inn is in a position to make a unique contribution to the field of biomaterial, immunology and carbohydrate chemistry. Not only is Inn-Inn an outstanding researcher, she is also a demonstrated leader. As the founding president of Georgia Tech’s chapter of Engineering World Health (EWH), a student organization dedicated to helping third world countries improve their health care facilities, and as chair of President’s Council Governing Board, and treasurer of Biomedical Engineering Society student chapter at Georgia Tech, Inn-Inn’s leadership skills are truly impressive. Inn-Inn was selected from among 600 students and named to the third team of USA Today's AllUSA College Academic Team. Students were nominated by their home institutions and will receive trophies and monetary awards. Inn
APRIL 2007 Inn, the only Georgia Tech awardee, was recognized for her work in repairing donated medical equipment for use in the developing world and for her role in the development of a solar-powered refrigerator to store vaccines. Students, like Inn-Inn, are the reason Georgia Tech’s is one of the nation’s leading educational institutions in engineering.
Photo courtesy of GaTech
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M r. Fr a n k l i n Bost Comes to BMES Rebekah Hamrick ‘10
Photo by: Chris Cooper ‘10 Every month, an expert connected to the field of Biomedical Engineering is invited to speak with those preparing to seek out work of similar caliber in the near future. The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) hosts these meetings for their members in hopes to inspire and educate. On March 1st, Franklin Bost spoke to BMES spotlighting Porex Surgical, Inc., a company in which he worked for 28 years, eventually holding the positions of President and Corporate VP of Business Development. His presentation touched on many aspects related to biomedical engineering including specific products developed by
Porex, the pathway from medical year at the meeting, shared, “Mr. need to marketable product, and Bost’s presentation emphasized the role computers play in producthe impact a career can have on tion. another individual’s quality of life Biomedical Engineers are alwithout the need for a medical ways assessing areas of improvedegree.” ment in the medical field. Students come to the BMES Franklin Bost said: “The manmeetings for many reasons, one of agement team, designers and enwhich is definitely the delicious gineers worked closely with surpizza offered at every meeting, but geons in the design of products. another is for future career prepaThey often observed surgery [to] ration. “I was not familiar with see how the products were used Porex before attending this presenand discuss design improvements tation, but I was introduced to a with surgeons.” new company that I may pursue Porex has been focusing on for employment in the future.” improving implants and the imsaid Oden. plantation procFirst year ess for both Rafeed Chaud“ Advanced computer trauma and hury also modeling has vastly cosmetic puragreed, “The increased... the ability to poses. Porex’s free pizza never create sophisticated claim to fame is hurts, but I designs.” a unique biomathink the expoterial MedPor®. sure to the difIt is made from the traditional linferent fields that one can pursue ear high-density polyethylene that after a degree in biomedical engihas been used for years, but Medneering opens the door to think Por® allows for tissue in-growth outside of the box and enables us by its large porosity. While mainto explore different areas.” taining a pore volume of approxiAs a successful leader in the mately 50%, it still remains firm industry, Bost has many advices to enough to allow for carving with offer to Tech BME students. surgical instruments, allowing for “Get experience with medical modification of implants in the products; maybe volunteer in the operating room. hospital or get certified as an These products can be custom Emergency Medical Technician,” ordered to fit a particular patient said Bost. “We hired a gent just with a particular need. According out of SCAD design school beto Bost, the use of advanced comcause he was also an EMT and puter modeling has “vastly inhad experience with patients, doccreased the speed of design and tors and medical products. This ability to create very sophisticated made it easy for him to interact custom implant designs.” Surwith surgeons on design projects.” geons can send CT scans to Porex, These meetings allow all and then log into a secure database BMES members, and those who to view a 3D model of the implant, pay a small fee, the opportunity to approve, and order the implant all hear from leaders in the field that without the various shuffling of they themselves will soon be enpapers during regular office hours. tering. Franklin Bost focused on the “These meetings are for those business side of MedPor® and the who want to make a difference, company. As Erica Oden, a fourth learning all about these companies
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APRIL 2007 unleashes a wealth of opportunities to either work with the company, identify alternatives to currently used methods and materials, or learn techniques for beginning a new company,” commented Oden. To keep track of upcoming industry speakers, visit BMES’s website at www.gtbmed.com.
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Students Discuss Boyan Lab
Melody Keith ‘09 Doing research in Dr. Barbara Boyan's undergraduate lab is a heavily coveted position by many BME students. Hopefully, this petite editorial will give you a brief look at the inner-workings of the lab, the students, and the good Doctor. Let us introduce first the woman behind it all, Dr. Barbara D. Boyan. Dr. Boyan joined the faculty of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tech in May of 2002 as the Price Gilbert, Jr. Chair of Tissue and is an adjunct professor in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Cell Biology at Emory University. She is also deputy director of research for the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.
“ My mentor encouraged me to figure things out on my own and this improved my ability to work and think independently.” Dr. Boyan received her Ph.D. in calcium metabolism from Rice University in Houston, Texas, in 1974. She came to Atlanta from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she served as vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopaedics. She is also the founder of the Biomedical Development Corp. and OsteoBiologics, Inc. Boyan has long been highly respected in the area of bone
mineralization and the cartilage cellular mechanism. As a recognized authority on bone biology and mineralization, she is among the leading researchers working in the fields of orthopaedics and oral health. According to GTEC, Dr. Boyan’s research interests revolve around three main areas. Her lab is among the first to study how membrane receptors for steroid hormones signal and how this interfaces with traditional steroid hormone receptors in the nucleus. The wider applications of this area of research are to investigate these receptors as new drug targets and to determine the role of these receptors in the metastasis of breast and bone cancers. Dr. Boyan’s second area of interest is orthopaedics and dental therapeutics. Her group investigates normal and pathologic calcification, bone grafts, orthopaedic tissue engineering, osteoarthritis and possible treatments to resolve arthritis. In addition, Dr. Boyan has a long-standing interest in understanding how cells respond to biomaterials in-vitro and in-
Photo courtesy of GaTech vivo. She hypothesizes a biomaterial’s design must be optimized for desired cell function, which includes various aspects of material composition and surface micro-topography and nano-topography. Many undergraduate students in the lab have expressed that doing research with Dr. Boyan has given them many important tools to succeed in life. Angela Gill, an undergraduate research scientist in the Boyan Lab, says her lab experience has allowed her to “hone [her] 'thinking' skills. My mentor [Boyan] encouraged me to figure things out on my own and this improved my ability to work and think independently.” In addition, Gill says that this atmosphere has allowed her to work on different aspects of one large research effort and has provided plenty of experience with teamwork. However, Gill recommends that undergraduates who are just starting out in research, “should try to rotate into a few top labs and
ISSUE ONE VOLUME ONE then try to select one in which they feel they will succeed.” Gill believes that students need more than just textbook experience— research is a great way to get hands-on experience. Kiersten Petersen, an Honors Program freshman interested in a future in orthopaedic surgery, speaks about why she chose Boyan's Lab: “I wanted to get my foot in the door for doing research early so that I could spend all four (or five) years here hopefully doing research in this lab so that I can become very knowledgeable about the future goals in orthopedics.” Gill and Petersen both agree that to get into a lab, it is important to research the lab in detail. “Read some of the articles published by the professor. Talk to people in the lab. Then, and only then, contact the professor and let them know how much they want [you] to work in their lab,” Gill sagely advises BME pre-labbers. Hours researching cartilage regeneration has paid off for Gill; she has been chosen as the most outstanding engineering woman in her class, among other prestigious awards. Upon graduating, she will be working for Medtronic as a clinical specialist. Petersen, currently working under the supervision of an upper classman, Michael Chervonski, on cell surface factors that affect osteoblast regulations, aspires to be involved “in a research experiment that makes a significant impact on the future of orthopedics” by doing research with Boyan. For more information on the Boyan lab, check out Dr. Barbara Boyan’s website at http:// www.mse.gatech.edu/FacultyStaff/ MSE_Faculty_researchbios/ Boyan/boyan.html.
Photo by: Kiersten Petersen ‘10
Undergraduate Research Success Guide Angela Gill ‘07
Be humble. Guess what…you do not know everything and those who have been doing research before you have a lot to teach you. Commit. Research takes time and energy, so it is best to commit to more than one semester. Have passion. Try to pick a lab doing research in an area of interest to you. Be responsible. Make and keep commitments. Clean up after yourself. Keep your notebook up-to-date for your benefit and those whose research will follow yours. Persevere. Science rarely, if ever, works the way you want it to the first time. You will have to be creative and determined in order to be successful in any lab.
Be resourceful. Prepare to read scientific journal article. Talk to students and faculty in other labs doing similar research and learn from them. Mista kes…everyone makes them. Be honest about your mistakes. Honesty is the best character trait you have to offer. Learn to be a team member. Success comes from listening and learning from other members of your team. Build communication skills. Biomedical engineers need to be able to communicate with other engineers, medical professionals, and researchers. Network. Make friends with the graduate students.