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April 3, 1997

$3 million Whitaker grant funds bioengineering dept.

Pitt's School of Engineering has received a $3 million Whitaker Foundation Development Award for "Innovation in Bioengineering Education." The award will be used mainly to support the establishment of a bioengineering department that will offer the first undergraduate bioengineering degree of any public university in Pennsylvania.

A portion of the award also will fund ongoing research programs in artificial organs and tissue engineering systems, biomolecular and cellular engineering, and musculoskeletal systems and rehabilitation engineering.

Pitt is one of only five universities in the nation to receive Whitaker awards this year. The others are Case Western, Harvard, Rice and the University of Michigan.

The School of Engineering's new bioengineering degree was developed in conjunction with Pitt's School of Medicine and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The scope of the undergraduate program will include the application of engineering principles, methods and technology to three areas:

* Fundamentals of the life sciences and biotechnology.

* Development of instrumentation, materials, devices and systems with applications in medicine.

* Improvement of health care delivery and assist systems.

In making the award, the Whitaker Foundation stressed the excellence at all levels of Pitt's bioengineering program. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said the award reflects the national stature and research expertise of the bioengineering faculty.

"The interaction among our schools of engineering, medicine, and health and rehabilitation sciences has created a center of excellence in bioengineering that makes Pitt an international leader in this field," Nordenberg said.

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