Department of Biomedical Engineering
Mission   |   Rationale

 

Rationale

The cost to the society of neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy is staggering. Stroke for example is the third leading cause of death in this country and its cost to the society is 40 billion dollars per year. It is clear that the solution of many neuroscience problems in the next century will involve coordinated and highly interdisciplinary research efforts between neurobiologists, engineers and scientists. Some of the problems we are poised to solve on this campus include the design of new methodology for the regeneration of nerves, the control of epileptic seizures with electrical stimulation, the design and testing of a wide range of neural prostheses for a variety of clinical disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, restoration of function in paralyzed patients in the upper and lower extremities, in the bladder, and in the respiratory system. Outstanding expertise also exists in the area of neuro-mechanics whereby the scientists and engineers design biologically-inspired control systems and mechanisms for movements. By integrating biology and engineering, it should soon be possible to determine how the nervous systems control movements and to apply these techniques to patients with paralysis or stroke. This integration between engineering and neurobiology will come about only if the efforts of expert clinicians, scientists and engineers can be brought together and fostered by facilitating the communications and flow of ideas through a common center of excellence in Neural Engineering.