Biomedical engineering part of grants to GVSU

May 17, 2010
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Grand Valley State University plans to launch a new master’s degree program in biomedical engineering this fall.

The university received a grant of $699,997 from the National Science Foundation to initiate the degree, part of $1.1 million in NSF grants to GVSU projects.

“I think it will be a really good thing for West Michigan, given all the money that the state is putting in to develop the biomed industry and device manufacturing,” said Samhita Rhodes, a professor at GVSU’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.

“The focus of this is medical devices and opportunities,” she added.

Rhodes said she and colleague John Farris have worked with the West Michigan Medical Device Consortium, Mary Free Bed Hospital, Van Andel Institute and local medical device manufacturers to garner support for their grant application as well as offers to provide research opportunities for students.

She said the NSF grant will provide fellowships for as many as four full-time students per year over the next three years, covering tuition and providing a stipend for those entering the new program.

A new faculty member in biomechanics is expected to join GVSU in the fall, Rhodes added.

The biomedical engineering master’s will leverage some existing classes such as physiology and statistics. Three new classes are in medical device design, opportunity identification and mathematical modeling of physiologic systems, she said.

Additional GVSU recipients of NSF funding include:

Associate Mathematics Professor William Dickinson received $228,314 over three years to continue an undergraduate research program with nationally recognized professors.

Assistant Professor Ryan Thum received a $7,000 supplement for Annis Water Research Institute research regarding invasive aquatic plants. He has received a total of $142,000 in grants for the project.

Assistant Professor Justin Adams received $84,939 for fossil record research at South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

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