UT Forms New College of Health Science Engineering

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Interim Chancellor Jim Gibb Johnson, MD, announced the changing of the School of Biomedical Engineering to the College of Health Science Engineering, effective June 24.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Interim Chancellor Jim Gibb Johnson, MD, announced the changing of the School of Biomedical Engineering to the College of Health Science Engineering, effective June 24.

UT”s seventh college will house the department of biomedical engineering and the department of health informatics and clinical engineering.

“Having health science engineers work collaboratively with other medical scientists is going to be more and more important in the 21st Century as we continue to improve human health,” said Dr. Johnson. “The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is positioning itself to become an even greater research university, and this new college will help all of our other colleges in this effort.

“All across this nation, academic health centers are working to translate discoveries into useful diagnostic and therapeutic products. Engineering skills are greatly facilitating these efforts.”

Frank DiBianca, PhD, who served as professor and director of the school for six years, was named dean.

“We are truly excited to see the development of a new college,” said Dr. DiBianca, who has been with UT for 14 years. “This is a compliment to the shared vision of making the UT Health Science Center one of the top healthcare institutions in the United States.

“This could not have been possible without the support of former chancellors James Hunt and Bill Rice, and especially, Jim Gibb Johnson.”

The biomedical engineering program was established in 1989, with its graduate degree housed in the College of Graduate Health Sciences. It became the School of Biomedical Engineering in 1996 when the proposed joint educational degree with the University of Memphis was approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The College of Health Science Engineering will continue to support the joint program and to award master and PhD level degrees to its approximately 90 students.

“Visionaries understood how important it was to build this program,” said Dr. DiBianca. “Most of what goes on in a traditional health science center comes from biology, but here is a growing need for engineering applications.”

Steve Bares, PhD, director, Memphis Biotech Foundation, said, “The establishment of the new college represents an important contribution to the growth of the bioscience initiative in the Memphis region.”

UT has developed an ultrahigh resolution CT scanner for clinical diagnosis and animal research, an optical device that enhances visibility of veins for hypodermic injections, and a spinal implant testing machine, just to name a few of the advances.

“The biomedical engineering program is not just academic, it”s economic,” said Dr. DiBianca. “This will be a boost to the growth of Memphis.”