About us

Wayne State University has the honor of being home to one of the longest, continuously active research programs in biomedical engineering in the world. The partnership between the School of Medicine and College of Engineering dates back more than 70 years. Faculty members from both sides of Warren Avenue have produced significant advancements in the field that have continuing impacts on the lives and health of individuals around the world.

Biomedical engineering education has evolved over more than 50 years at Wayne State. Students initially had the opportunity to concentrate in biomechanics within the engineering mechanics and mechanical engineering programs. Building on its strong history in this field and the growth of coursework and research in the area of biomaterials and biomedical sensors, independent graduate degree programs were established in 1998. In 2010, a full range of degree programs in biomedical engineering was first offered to serve our outstanding students.

The following lists a few of the highlights in the program's history and achievements.

  • 1868 - Founding of the Detroit College of Medicine, now Wayne State School of Medicine.
  • 1933 - Establishment of the Wayne University College of Engineering.
  • 1939 - H.R. Lissner, professor of Engineering Mechanics, and Dr. E.S. Gurdjian, a neurosurgeon, initiate research into the mechanisms of blunt head trauma and skull fracture.
  • 1952 - Dr. Forest Dodrill, professor of surgery, successfully performs the first cardiac surgery using a mechanical heart bypass system that he designed and built in cooperation with General Motors engineers.
  • 1960 WSU Tolerance Curve, which predicts the risk of head injury, is developed by Professors H.R. Lissner and Larry Patrick. Today, this work remains the foundation for motor vehicle and sports equipment safety standards through the world.
  • 1963 WSU Board of Governors charters the Bioengineering Center as an independent research center within the university with Professor Lissner as the first director.
  • 1965 - Professor Patrick becomes the second director of the Bioengineering Center and builds two impact sleds for more accurate characterization of automotive occupant injury biomechanics.
  • 1977 - The contribution of Professor Lissner as a founding father in the field of biomechanics is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The ASME's Lissner Medal recognizes significant, career-long achievement in the field of biomechanics and is the highest award offered by the society in the field of biomedical engineering.
  • 1998 - Graduate program in biomedical engineering established, offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in BME.
  • 1998 - Computer model of brain injury developed by Bioengineering Center faculty and students, including mechanical engineering professors Albert King and King-Hay Yang, recognized by the Smithsonian Institution's ComputerWorld-Smithsonian Medal.
  • 2002 - Dr. Mark Haacke, professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, patents a new MRI technique, susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI), that provides better diagnosis of neurological trauma and disease.
  • 2002 - Wayne State Board of Governors approves the formation of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, bridging the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine.
  • 2006 - Dr. Rangaramanujam Kannan, associate professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, advances the development of new nanomaterials (dendrimers) to allow targeted delivery of drugs to malignant tumors.
  • 2009 - Sports biomechanics technologies developed by Dr. Cynthia Bir, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic surgery, are showcased in the television show Sport Science and are recognized with an Emmy Award.
  • 2010 - Undergraduate program in biomedical engineering established.
  • 2014 - First biomedical engineering bachelor's degrees awarded.
  • 2014 - WSU Department of Biomedical Engineering celebrates its 75th anniversary with a special symposium.
  • 2016 - The BME undergraduate program officially receives accreditation through the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, retroactively applied to October 1, 2013.