Engineering for better health focus of new student organization at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —According to the U.S. Department of Labor, biomedical or biological engineering is one of the fastest growing occupations worldwide, involving the application of engineering principles and technologies to improving human health.

A group of students at West Virginia University, excited about opportunities in the field, has formed a student chapter of the Society for Biological Engineering, which is affiliated with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Many SBE members are chemical engineering majors but the organization is open to students in any major at WVU.

“We are dedicated to helping students who are interested in science and engineering learn ways to apply their knowledge to improving health care for all people,” said Alan Campbell, a senior from Dunbar and president of the SBE Chapter.

The chapter attended the organization’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore this spring, and is planning to bring guest lecturers to campus, tour research facilities and organize other activities. Many of the members are getting involved with research under WVU faculty mentors.

In addition to Campbell, Tommy Sobray, of Wheeling is SBE’s vice president; and Kristen Carpenter, of Cowen is the treasurer. Sobray and Carpenter presented a poster at the recent regional meeting.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to be exposed and represent WVU” said Sobray.

“Biological engineering integrates biology, the study of living things, with engineering,” said Cerasela Zoica Dinu, the chapter’s advisor and an assistant professor of chemical engineering at WVU. “It encompasses diverse areas, including biomechanics, image processing, research and development, tissue engineering, bionanotechnology, biomolecular engineering, 3-D modeling and other areas in which biology and engineering intersect.

“It is also a field that is growing faster than almost any other. Biomedical engineering jobs are expected increase by more than 70 percent in the next eight years. We need more talented students to get involved so that we can help educate graduates to fill these jobs. The creation of this SBE Chapter is an important step forward for WVU.”

A native of Romania, Dinu joined the WVU faculty in November, 2009. Her research is in the area of bionanotechnology and biomedical engineering, and involves the understanding of cytotoxicity of nanomaterials and development of nanoscale “smart” materials to be used for decontamination.



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CONTACT: Susan Case
Director of College Relations
College of Engineering & Mineral Resources
(304) 293-4086