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May 2002
Future CUNY Facility on Governors Island Announced by Governor and Mayor.
Student Media Conference Addresses "Attack Mentality" after 9/11
Baruch Orients City Council Freshmen
Turning "D"s into Degrees: A CUNY Student Tells How
Life Resumes 500 Feet from Ground Zero
A Diaspora of CUNY Students into Halls of Power
A View to a Krill: Antarctic Expedition by College of Staten Island Scientists
The City University Attracts Talent from Near and Far
CUNY, PSC Announce Agreement on a New Contract
Chancellor Goldstein Initiates New Efficiencies, Greater Student Access to Learning Technology
Pulitzer Prize to Louis Menand
Executive Leadership Program Inaugurated
First Betty Shabazz Chair Appointed at Medgar Evers College
City University Retains New Fundraising Consultant
Former Congressman Dellums to Speak on AIDS at CCNY
City Tech Scholarship For All Four Seasons
Major CCNY Grant for Remote Sensing

Student Development, Enrollment Conference by Mayor

ReBuilding New York

New City College Biomedical Engineering Department

"Trailer Heroes" of BMCC Build at CCNY

A Life of Laura Bridgman—Disabled Pioneer in Education

Exotic Bird Alights at The Graduate Center

 
 

New City College Biomedical Engineering Department

Gathering to announce the new CCNY department on March 22 are, from left, professors Stephen Cowin, Sheldon Weinbaum, Mohammad Karim, and CCNY President Gregory Williams.
This first new department in City College's School of Engineering since 1968 and the first new CCNY engineering department since 1937 was approved in January by the Board of Trustees. The Biomedical Engineering Department will offer an undergraduate degree, as well as the Ph.D. and M.S. programs that had already been approved by New York State in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

The Trustees' approval was the culmination of eight years' effort by CUNY Distinguished Professors Sheldon Weinbaum and Stephen Cowin, both members of CCNY's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Funds for the creation of the new department and degree program were largely obtained from $3.7 million in external infrastructure grants received since last fall from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Whitaker and Sloan Foundations, and the U.S. Department of Education. The largest of the grants, a $2.2 million award from NIH for undergraduate minority education in a life science, was one of only two such awards nationally.

An NIH review of the proposal for this new department called it "outstanding in every respect. A major strength is that it builds on a foundation of faculty commitment and existing hospital partnerships with research institutions in the area." These partnerships, which were first begun in 1994, were forged by the New York Center for Biomedical Engineering (NYCBE), a CUNY Research Institute that involves CCNY faculty in the School of Engineering and Science Division and faculty at seven of the premier health care institutions in New York City.

The NIH review also noted that "the faculty and research mentors are, without exception, outstanding scientists, with on-going funded projects." CUNY Distinguished Professor Sheldon Weinbaum of CCNY's Department of Mechanical Engineering said that " no other biomedical engineering program in the U.S. has access to such a diverse group of world class medical institutions."

The undergraduate program will admit its first freshman class this coming fall. Many of these 25 students will receive full-tuition scholarships provided by the NIH and Whitaker grants and the new CUNY Honors College Program. A unique feature awaiting these new majors will be grant funding of $17,000 per student to support hands-on research projects in the research laboratories at City College or one of the seven hospital partners of NYCBE during their junior and senior years. The $17,000 will include stipends to avoid the need to work after school and funds for research supplies and travel.

In addition to the student research awards, the five-year NIH grant will provide for 60 full-tuition scholarships for minority students, seed money for the development of the instructional laboratories, and courses for the new undergraduate degree program in biomedical engineering, while also greatly enhancing an existing summer outreach program for inner-city high schools. When the new Ph.D. program was reviewed for State accreditation in 1999 by prominent external evaluators, it was cited "as the single most effective program for the education of minority Ph.D.s in the U.S." in the field.

Weinbaum notes that the grants will "provide entree for New York City high school students into a dramatically growing field that many believe will be the basis of a revolution between biology and engineering in the 21st century." Until relatively recently, he added, "students from underrepresented groups had been largely excluded from careers in this field because most biomedical engineering programs were at costly private universities."

Plans for the new department include the development of four new undergraduate instructional laboratories: a cell, tissue, and molecular engineering laboratory; a biomechanics and design laboratory; a data acquisition and bio-instrumentation laboratory; and a computer laboratory. An animal research laboratory is also planned. The Whitaker Foundation grant calls for the recruitment of two new faculty and an associated hire in bioinformatics in the Department of Computer Science; they will join the six core faculty who will found the department.

The New York Center for Biomedical Engineering was founded in 1994 with a $750,000 Whitaker Special Opportunity Award, and its faculty and graduate students have received many prestigious honors and awards. This includes an NSF Career Award to Bingmei Fu, American Heart Association Fellowships to Peter Butler and Jie Song, and several Biomedical Engineering Society student research awards.

Biomedical Engineering faculty have received numerous awards and honors, including two Melville Medals (the highest award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for an original research paper), the Research Award of the European Society of Biomechanics, and two additional $1,000,000 Whitaker Special Opportunity awards.

A special event in CCNY's Great Hall on March 22 celebrating the new department brought together assistant principals of science and college advisors from more than 200 New York City high schools. For more information about the NYCBE, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu/nycbe.