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May 26, 2005

Bioengineering program gets NIH funds

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded funding to Pitt’s Department of Bioengineering pre-doctoral training program, which is aimed at educating students from engineering and other quantitative sciences for careers in biomedical research in the cardiovascular area.

Pitt has been at the forefront of education and research in this field for two reasons.

First, a mechanism is in place whereby students are exposed first-hand to clinical problems requiring bioengineering input for their solution within various medical disciplines.

Second, there is significant institutional commitment.

The new program is interdisciplinary and interdepartmental. Faculty are engineers, bioengineers, physiologists, biophysicists, cell and molecular biologists, adult and pediatric cardiologists, cardio-thoracic surgeons and critical care specialists.

There are three focus areas:

• Basic understanding and quantitative characterization of native (normal and pathological conditions) and perturbed (i.e., with deployment of human-made devices or constructs) cardiovascular function at various levels of organization (cell, tissue, whole organ);

• Imaging for functional assessment at various levels of organization (cell, tissue, whole organ), and

• Design and optimization of artificial devices and constructs (mechanical, tissue-engineered and hybrid).

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