Director’s Message

Celebrating our strength: Imaging & Diagnostics

My original intention for the spring message this year was to shout out our strengths in imaging and diagnostics, and I will come back to this later. Needless to say, however, COVID19 interrupted virtually everything in the world in March. An emergency switch to all remote function was not in anyone’s crystal ball when the semester started on January 21, 2020! Fortunately, this went reasonably smoothly for CSU and the SBME. We continued the delivery of our online classes as we normally do and all resident didactic classes were moved to remote delivery.

Lab classes either had to cease or move to a demo mode. The graduate practicum was taking its inaugural design voyage and leveraged the undergraduate senior design lecture class. All teams produced outstanding materials for evaluation by outside experts in a first of its kind remote judging experience as noted on page 2 of this newsletter. This effort was led by Senior Design Instructor Ellen Brennan-Pierce and the interim Director of Undergraduate Programs Dr. Ketul Popat. They led the only public display and judging forum for senior design projects in the College, viewable here:

We are still in discussions with schools throughout the region (UC Denver Biomedical Engineering, University of Wyoming, UC Boulder, CO School of Mines, and Denver University) to establish a regional meeting and perhaps consortium for joint activities more broadly. We have had biomedical engineering leaders from four of these schools give seminars at CSU, with one more to come in the fall. The goal is to see how we can harvest regional synergies in research, with industry, and with students (existing and to be recruited). We are on the lookout for remote meeting software that truly engages an audience. Many national meetings are evaluating remote options in the near future and we hope to learn from their experiences.

Of all the times in history to have a Master of Engineering Online (MEO) program successfully in place, this is a most interesting time. We took the additional step this year of utilizing several courses from the MEO program to create a biomedical engineering certificate. This will allow people to dive in with a 12-credit commitment instead of 30 and then perhaps join the MEO program once they have a better feel for the instruction and materials.

Finally, I will sing the praises of the SBME faculty (and students) that have jumped into helping with COVID-related research across campus. This was not a focused SBME effort as much as a reflection of the fact that the faculty that join the SBME are already highly engaged in relevant translational research and were either tapped by upper administration directly or jumped in on their own. Going back to my first sentence about imaging and diagnostics, I want to particularly call out a SARS CoV2 related diagnostics project by SBME faculty Charles Henry, David Dandy and Brian Geiss (home departments Chemistry, Chemical & Biological Engineering, and Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology, respectively). They are not alone among the faculty doing COVID-related work, but at a time when “testing” is on many people’s minds, they fit the theme I started with and are doing truly essential work.

Stuart Tobet, Director