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Dean's Column

Engineering Advances in Medicine through New Institute

Frieder Seible, Dean

On December 12, 2008, the campus officially celebrated the launch of our newest research institute, the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM).The inauguration was the culmination of an initiative that started several years ago in discussions I had with Ed Holmes, former Dean of the School of Medicine, and subsequently with our current Dean David Brenner.

Ed told me that medicine needs engineering to get to the next level: namely to employ technology based on analytics, quantitative processes, visualization and predictive modeling, as well as new materials, devices, and delivery methods in order to advance medical care.

For engineering to collaborate with medicine is nothing new on the UC San Diego campus; it began already in the late 1960's when Bert Fung came to UCSD and started our Bioengineering Program. However, things have changed since then, and now we have faculty from all six of our engineering departments collaborating with colleagues in the School of Medicine and in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy. To enhance and accelerate this already naturally occurring collaboration between the life sciences and engineering is the mission and goal of our new institute. I am pleased that Shu Chien, University Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine has agreed to lead this effort along with Bioengineering Chair Shankar Subramaniam and Professor of Pathology David Cheresh.

We see IEM as an umbrella organization under which focused research centers and programs on the interface between the life sciences and engineering can flourish. Such focused research already exists in our Nano-Tumor Center in the Moores Cancer Center. IEM has begun to set up other important centers such as our Medical Device Technology Center and theWhitaker Center for Biomedical Engineering focused on the professional development and educational aspects of the institute.

In addition, partnerships with industry will be critical to this effort because not only are we developing better ways to diagnose, monitor and treat diseases in a very individualized way, but we want those ideas to be translated and transferred to immediate applications and practice so that society can benefit from our work.

We have dedicated the research section of this issue of the Pulse magazine to share with you the vision for our new Institute, and just a few examples of the exciting research already underway. I look forward to continuing to share progress with you in future issues.

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible

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