UCI Samueli School Adds Department of Biomedical Engineering

Engineering Home --> News --> Current Stories




Nicole Knight
(949) 824-3088


Department Expected To Fill Increasing Demand By Southern California Biotech Companies For Skilled Employees

Irvine, Calif., May 8, 2002 — The Henry Samueli School of Engineering created its fifth department, biomedical engineering. The new department was approved by the UCI administration last month.

"The formation of a department marks a major academic milestone for the field of biomedical engineering here at UCI," said Steven C. George, chair of the new department and associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science. "The department structure allows the faculty to focus their research and teaching efforts towards our goal of training the highest quality biomedical engineers for both the local biomedical device industry and academia."

George expects the department to enroll approximately 50 new undergraduate students and 15 new graduate students this fall. He also anticipates hiring two additional faculty members over the coming months, and four more in the next few years. The department currently has 39 core and affiliated faculty.

The new department is ideally located in a hub for biomedical engineering. Southern California is home to nearly 1,400 biomedical companies, according to the California Healthcare Institute. These companies invested more than $850 million to research and develop new products in 2000.

"The Department of Biomedical Engineering will fill the need locally and nationally for well-trained engineers who will work in some of the most exciting, emerging areas of bio-medicine," said Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, dean of the Samueli school. "With the formation of this new department, the Samueli school and UCI are well-positioned to make great strides in biomedical research and technology development."

The department capitalizes on the school's and UCI's existing strengths in bio-optics, nanoscale systems, computational technologies and tissue engineering. While there are roughly 80 biomedical engineering programs in existence nationwide, none integrate these four increasingly important areas.

The foundation for the new department was laid with the creation in 1998 of the school's Center for Biomedical Engineering. Other milestones in biomedical engineering include:

  • March 2002 - Graduate and undergraduate degree programs approved. Total of 20 doctoral and four master's students enrolled to date.
  • December 2001 - Center hires eighth biomedical engineering professor.
  • September 2001 - 68 undergraduates enrolled in biomedical engineering minor.
  • August 2001 - Center successfully recruits five new faculty members.
  • July 2001 - William J. Link gives the school $1.5 million to establish an endowed chair in biomedical engineering.
  • June 1999 - Undergraduate minor approved.
  • January 1999 - Center for Biomedical Engineering receives prestigious Development Award from the Whitaker Foundation - a $3 million grant over four years to spur the development of biomedical engineering at UCI.
  • December 1998 - Center for Biomedical Engineering established.
  • Fall 1998 - Biomedical Engineering Corporate Advisory Board created to involve local industry with the Samueli school. William J. Link, managing partner of Versant Ventures, named board chair.
  • 1997 - Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos named engineering dean, bringing a new focus on biomedical engineering.

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering encompasses five departments: biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, chemical engineering and materials science, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering. The school also is home to numerous research centers, including the Center for Pervasive Communications, National Fuel Cell Research Center, Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility and Center for Biomedical Engineering. In addition, the school is an integral part of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, one of three California Institutes for Science and Innovation. Additional information is available at www.eng.uci.edu.



A complete archive of press releases is available on the World Wide Web at