College Of Engineering Dedicates New Cellular Engineering Teaching Laboratory

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The University of Iowa College of Engineering will celebrate continuing biomedical engineering excellence when the Cellular Engineering Teaching Laboratory is dedicated at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, in Stanley Auditorium, Room 1505 of the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences.

Funded in part by a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa, the laboratory will aid many aspects of teaching and research.

"Thanks to generous support from the Carver Trust for the purchase of equipment and from the College of Engineering dean's office for laboratory renovation, a dream has become a reality with the establishment of a state-of-the-art cell biology laboratory for our students," said Krishnan B. Chandran, Lowell G Battershell Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

UI College of Engineering Dean Barry Butler said, "The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust recognizes the value to society of educating the next generation of engineers with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories."

Chandran said: "This laboratory provides experiential learning for our students in required courses in basic cell biology, as well as in cell-material interaction. In addition, the laboratory will be available for other elective courses offered in the department as well as for any senior 'capstone' design projects that involve cellular manipulations."

In keeping up with the dynamic changes in the discipline of biomedical engineering, our faculty felt that our students must have hands-on experience in the culturing and manipulation of cells and making measurements at the cellular level, Chandran said. The UI program recently introduced curriculum changes requiring that all undergraduate students take an engineering course in cell biology having a laboratory component. The curriculum changes are important because, as Chandran noted, scientific advances in studying human disease and appropriate cures involve studies at multiple levels of scale. Biomedical engineers -- along with basic scientists and physicians -- will continue to be involved in making measurements and in modeling complex processes directed toward advances in human health care.

Michael Mackey, associate professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine Department of Pathology, course coordinator and principal architect of the new course, stated that this newest addition to the biomedical engineering curriculum will acquaint sophomores in biomedical engineering with basic techniques used in cell biology, as well as provide exposure to more advanced techniques such as gel electrophoresis, cDNA microarray analysis, and polymerase chain reaction, all important biomedical research tools that students are usually exposed to later in their undergraduate studies.

The Carver Trust, based in Muscatine, Iowa, made the grant to the College of Engineering through the UI Foundation. The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the foundation, visit its Web site at http://www.uiowafoundation.org.