Message From the Chair

Dr. Robert E Burrell

Welcome to the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the world of biomedical engineers. As its name suggests, biomedical engineering is engineering applied to medicine with the goal of improving diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventative medicine. In short, biomedical engineering is the improvement of healthcare through engineering.

Engineering has been part of medicine throughout recorded history: crutches and wooden stumps in the earliest days, by the middle ages eye glasses, and in the nineteenth century the stethoscope. Today however, the simple wooden stump has become the sophisticated C-leg, a lower limb prosthetic that improves stability and swing of the leg by monitoring sensors in its artificial foot, ankle, and knee fifty times each second using an onboard microprocessor. While eye glasses improve sight, we now monitor and understand vision at the level of the visual cortex using complex medical imaging systems developed by engineers. We no longer only listen to the heart; we control its rate using complex artificial pacemakers continuously being refined by engineers. Artificial joints, signal and image analysis, micro-robotic surgery, biomaterials, micro- and nano-technology, cryopreservation of tissue, mathematical modeling, aerosol delivery, lab-on-a-chip - engineering applied to medicine, areas in which engineers apply their skills and imagination, and as a result improve healthcare.

This site will introduce you to the research, courses, and personnel in biomedical engineering not only in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, but across our campus, in departments of the Faculties of Engineering, Medicine & Dentistry, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Science. In fact, there are approximately fifty professors across the University of Alberta campus engaged in biomedical engineering research. So welcome to the world of biomedical engineering.

Dr. Robert E Burrell
Professor and Chair
Department of Biomedical Engineering