Work in progress: Lab-bench-marking: How are we using lab courses in bme curricula?

Michael P. Rathslag, Brittany R. van Vleet, Jennifer R. Amos, Karin Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Biomedical engineers work at the interface of numerous engineering and science disciplines to manipulate and create biological systems for a wide variety of applications. While biomedical engineering primarily focused on medical device design in the 1950-1960s, biomedical engineers today now work across a variety of application areas, ranging from prosthetics to tissue engineering to bioinformatics [1]. As the field continues to evolve, undergraduate biomedical engineering programs have also continued to grow and evolve. To support the needs of the growing field, biomedical engineering (BME) curricula were established as broad and interdisciplinary, integrating knowledge from both basic sciences and engineering disciplines. This training prepares graduates for a wide variety of careers in medicine, government, and industry. The first BME programs were accredited by ABET in the early 1970s [2] and at present there are 139 programs accredited, with new programs accredited each year [3]. In an effort to define the core content of a BME undergraduate curriculum, the VaNTH curriculum project identified key content and topics in BME curricula [4]. Efforts to analyze credit hour requirements across engineering programs have been conducted in other disciplines [5] and repeated throughout the years in BME programs to assess coverage of curriculum topics and to assess program tracks [6]. However, while the VaNTH project, ABET, and BMES provide guidelines on curriculum topics, no guidelines or requirements are given for laboratory courses. Further, the costs of implementing lab courses, breadth of application areas, and varying faculty expertise on experimental techniques leads to a wide range of laboratory offerings across BME programs. A variety of BME laboratory courses, activities, assessments, and best practices have been described in the literature [7-12], but to our knowledge there is not a current benchmarking study available to assess the landscape of laboratory courses in BME undergraduate programs. Towards this goal, we reviewed lab credit requirements for BME programs and surveyed BME instructors about their laboratory and project-based courses, including on techniques taught and methods of assessment. Preliminary data from the review of lab credit requirements and instructor survey will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1595
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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