Biomedical Engineering

As a Biomedical Engineering (BME) major at Duquesne, you'll be challenged in the classroom and the lab, preparing to make an impact in the field after graduation. Our students receive a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics while:

  • Gaining broad-based engineering fundamentals combined with hands-on research on biomedical optics and sensors, with applications in oncology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dermatology and other areas of medicine
  • Mastering mathematical methods, programming and fabrication of protytpe medical devices 
  • Honing your skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and management
  • Understanding the increasing importance of leadership and ethics in the engineering field

You want to change the world—we'll help you do it. Biomedical engineering, like any branch of engineering, uses scientific and mathematical principles to solve problems facing the world. BME focuses on improving human health across distinct areas, like biomedical optics, biomaterials, orthopedic biomechanics, biophysical interactions, drug delivery and biosensor development.

As a graduate of our biomedical engineering program, you will:

  • Achieve productive and satisfying employment in a biomedical engineering-related field
  • Obtain entry into a graduate or professional-degree granting program
  • Maintain professional competence within their industry
  • Be well-versed in a professional and ethical manner with an attentiveness to service

Our Biomedical Engineering BS program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

"The ABET accreditation is a huge accomplishment. Both employers and graduate programs are looking for students from accredited schools - it confirms the quality of our program."

Tori Kocsis, B.S. '21; M.S. '22

Growing career opportunities for engineers

On a national level, the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014 - 2024 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) indicates the field is growing much faster than average. Biomedical engineers are also among the Fastest Growing Occupations in Pennsylvania 2008-2018.

 

Program Type

Major

Degree

Bachelor's

Duration

4-year

Required Credit Hours

133

What Our Students Say

Tori Kocsis

"The school provided many opportunities to conduct research my freshman year. Working with my professors and fellow students in our labs not only better prepared me for my academic career, but for my long-term future as well."

Tori Kocsis Graduate BME student
From Outer Space to Medical School
Eric Linder sitting on steps.

This program allows for mentorship from the professors, creating an environment that promotes each student to reach his or her full potential. I believe with all of the instruction that I receive, I will be successful in what I choose to do with my Biomedical Engineering degree.

Eric Linder BME Class of 2019
Courtney Battles in BME lab

The Biomedical Engineering program fosters an environment in which I am motivated to push myself to achieve greater success than I imagined. I couldn't ask for a better program to prepare me for the future and to reach my dreams.

Courtney Battles BME Class of 2019

Preparing for Your Future

Upon graduation, you'll have acquired the ability to:
  • Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  • Apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  • Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • Recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  • Function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  • To develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions

Course Descriptions & Curriculum

The curriculum includes 133 Credit Hours, including 52 credit hours of engineering content. In addition to math, science courses and labs and the Bridges Common Learning Experience, students will take the following engineering courses (courses subject to change):

This course introduces the academic discipline of biomedical engineering using software tools that emphasize design, measurment, and analysis. Various software tools and hardware will be used to explore aspects of science and engineering that will be used and developed later in the undergraduate curriculum. Students will gain experience with PIC microprocessors and hardware interfacing, instrumentation control, and solid modeling with Fusion 360. This course is project oriented with application for measurement and testing biological media.
This course introduces software tools and scientific programming techniques so that the student may make use of the powerful computing environments now commonly available. The course uses Matlab for study of scientific computation. Matlab is used to show programming methods, as well as to introduce numerical techniques. The objective is directed towards scientific programs for solutions of engineering equations, analysis of data, and simulation of physical phenomena. Software design includes mastering flow control, conditional statements, input and output, two and three dimensional graphics, and data structures. Additionally, the student will apply these software constructs to solve problems in statistics, imaging, and problems in biomedical engineering.
This course covers basic analog and digital electronics and laboratory instrumentation with medical device design in mind. This course will include the theory and applications of passive and active analog and digital circuits with devices, such as; Basic RLCs, BJTs, MOSFETs, Diodes, the Zener Diode, Operational Amplifiers, Voltage Comparators, Logic ICs, LEDs, the Piezo Element Speaker, Potentiometers, Switches, the Temperature Sensor, the Relay, the Photo-Resistor, the DC Motor and the DC Servo Motor, along with basic Electronic Instrumentation. Also included in this course are DC, Transient and AC Sinusoidal circuit analysis, using Thevenin and Norton equivalency, the Final Value Theorem and Complex Variables. Additionally, this course will examine various Signal Conditioning Interface circuits, which are commonly used in microcontroller applications. This course will also include experiments with the Arduino/Atmel Microcontroller, using the above-mentioned devices and C-Code programming, using the Arduino C-Code Compiler.
Using BMED-201 as a foundation, this course will focus on a larger scale integration of electronics and electronic laboratory instrumentation, using the PIC Microcontroller. The student will learn the basics of the PIC Microcontroller by programming it with Assembly Code, C-Code and PIC-Basic Pro Code. The student will gain a larger understanding of various Analog and Digital Interface circuits, Signal Conditioning Circuits and General Data Acquisition Circuits, using Basic RLCs, BJTs, MOSFETs, Diodes, Zener Diodes, Operational Amplifiers, Voltage Comparators, Logic ICs, LEDs, the Crystal, the Text Liquid Crystal Display (TLCD), the IR-LED, the IR-Photo-Transistor, a Speaker, a Voltage Regulator, a 4-Phase Stepper-Motor, a Brushless DC-Fan Motor and a Relay, along with the PIC Microcontroller. All of the above will be presented with medical device design in mind.
Application of principles drawn from thermodynamics are critical in the design of biomedically-relevant devices. This course covers the laws of Thermodynamics and provides tools for working relevant engineering problems in energy and material conservation. This course makes use of Matlab software.
Biomaterials are increasingly found in medical applications. This course covers basic concepts of biomaterials by studying mechanical and biological properties of soft and hard materials used in medical science and medicine. The surface chemistry approach will be taken in this course with regard to understanding, analyzing, and using biomaterials. 
This course provides a rigorous coverage of signal and systems with applications in biomedical engineering. Basic concepts, such as continuous and discrete time systems, Fourier and Laplace transforms and their discrete counterparts, are explored. Problems are motivated by biomedical signal and image processing, as well as in other linear systems encountered in biomedical engineering. Students will use Matlab and Simulink. 
This course covers fluid statics and dynamics, with particular emphasis on systems encountered in biomedical engineering. Not only are fluid systems found in the human body covered, such as blood flow, but engineering systems, such as microfluidic devices, are explored too. 
This course introduces mathematical and computational techniques that are relevant for describing and modeling physical processes encountered in biomedical engineering. Topics will include ordinary and partial differential equations, matrix methods including the singular value decomposition, and integral transforms, such as Fourier and Wavelet. Mathematical methods will be introduced within the context of current problems in biomedical engineering. For instance, numerical solutions to the diffusion equation will be developed during study of heat conduction in tissue. Similarly, edge enhancement techniques using the wavelet transform will be shown in medical images. This course makes extensive use of Matlab. 
This course focuses on utilizing computational methods to solve engineering problems, which often can't be solved analytically. The goal of this course is to provide students a comprehensive understanding of a variety of computational methods and algorithms. Those methods will be introduced in the context of engineering examples, and implemented in MATLAB. Advanced MATLAB programming techniques will be introduced to solve complex engineering problems. Topics of this course includes: errors, roots and optimization, curve fitting, integration, and differentiation. Advanced topics may also be introduced.
The capstone is the culmination of the educational process in biomedical engineering. In this phase, a problem in biomedical engineering is studied by a student team, and the team provides an engineering solution. This solution will often be a medical device. Students perform deterministic and statistical studies of the problem and design the solution. Prototype construction will begin during this phase of the project. Students will spend a minimum of 6 hours a week conducting lab research, working towards a prototype design.
The second semester of the capstone experience continues with prototype design and construction. Subsequently, students will perform testing of the solution and provide an engineering and economic analysis of the solution. Students present the solution at the end of the semester in the form of a presentation slide deck and pitch, as if presenting to potential investors. Students will spend a minimum of 6 hours a week working on prototype design and construction.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to modern biomedical imaging modalities that are currently employed in both biomedical research and clinical medicine. Imaging modalities covered in this course include optical imaging, X-ray radiography, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, nuclear medicine (SPECT and PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The main objective is to offer students a solid understanding of each imaging modality through lectures and assignments. For each imaging modality, we will focus on basic physics, image formation and reconstruction, imaging hardware, and applications. Image analysis and signal processing methods will also be briefly introduced.
The principles and practice of tissue engineering will be the focus of this course. Topics include strategies for employing selected cells, biomaterial scaffolds, soluble regulators of gene expression, role of stem cells, and mechanical loading and culture conditions, Tissue fabrication techniques as well as the role of bioreactors in tissue development will be explored. Students will investigate using current literature the application of tissue engineering to specific organs.
This course covers theoretical foundations of biomedical optics, including light-tissue interactions and optical imaging and sensing methods. Emphasis will be placed on skin optics and photoacoustic phenomena. Students will perform computational modeling, including Monte Carlo simulations of photon transport in turbid media.
This introductory course will cover fundamentals of micro/nanotechnology and its applications in biomedical sciences. The course will provide rationale for utilizing micro/nanotechnology for biomedical applications including scaling laws. Basic microfabrication methods and design principles of microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) used in biology and medicine will be presented. Students will gain a broad perspective on applied research and commercial applications of biomedical microsystems.
This is an advanced course in the interdisciplinary field of biomedical microdevices. This course will build upon a fundamental understanding of the principles of micro- and nanoscale system design to explore state-of-the-art applications of biomedical microdevices. Students will learn about the cutting-edge micro/nanofabrication techniques and its most recent applications in biomedical sciences through in depth analysis of recent publications.
This course addresses dynamic mathematical models of biochemical and genetic networks. Emphasis on how modeling can enhance understanding of cell phenomena. Topics include chemical reaction networks, biochemical kinetics, signal transduction pathways with emphasis on receptor-mediated phenomena, metabolic networks, and gene regulatory networks. Students will use current literature and programming to investigate specific models and their predictive power for biological and tissue engineering applications.
Digital image processing is an indispensable component in biomedical research and imaging. The goal of this course is to provide students a solid understanding of a variety of image processing techniques and their implementations with a focus on biomedical applications. Image processing methods will be introduced primarily using MATLAB. Other image processing software, such as ImageJ and GIMP, will also be briefly introduced. Knowing multiple image processing platforms offers students the freedom to choose the most appropriate one to tackle specific image processing tasks. Topics of this course include: image filtering in spatial- and frequency-domain, image restoration and reconstruction, image transformation and registration, color image processing, and morphological image processing.
Currently, the global medical device industry is valued at over $450B, with a CAGR anticipated to be greater than 4%. In 2020 alone, the US FDA approved or cleared more than 600 newly developed or modified medical and diagnostic devices for use. Today's challenge is not only in gathering relevant regulatory information, but also in knowing how to interpret and apply it. This course provides an overview of FDA and select international regulations associated with medical devices, and those requirements to be followed when submitting one for approval or clearance. Examples of topic areas include: The Structure of the FDA and global approval agencies, Framework of regulatory approvals, Classification of medical devices for approval, Relevant US and international test methodologies, Guidance for conducting clinical trials, Good manufacturing practices and quality systems to be adopted, and Surveillance of medical devices. Individuals engaged in the development of medical devices and diagnostic tools, as well as those in healthcare studies wishing to learn more about their evaluation and approval, would benefit from information discussed in this course.
Assessment and modification of the physical environment to enhance occupational performance including computer resources, assistive technology, home health, environmental controls, and environmental accessibility.
This course is for research experience that includes engineering design and problem solving in a biomedical engineering context.
This course is for external internships that cover design and engineering principles in biomedical and biotechnology settings. This course will be supervised by a BME faculty member.
With the guidance of a faculty member, a student within the Biomedical Engineering Program may pursue an in-depth study of a subject area in an area of interest related to their professional goals.