Undergrads Conduct Research
Cancer Research
BME 411
Cornell University
222 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-2801
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At Cornell

Science and Technology Approaches to Problems
in Human Health—BME 411

Ted Schwartz with students

An Innovative Undergraduate Course
in Biomedical Engineering

Bashir Geer

Bashir Geer ’08

Core courses such as general chemistry, introductory biology, and genetics, along with an array of major courses and research labs at Cornell, provide undergraduates with the educational foundation and camaraderie to pursue future careers in medicine and biomedical research if this is their chosen path.

But this training can be enhanced. Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) has the potential to educate undergraduates on the foremost advances in biomedical research and the world of medicine from the clinical perspective. With the Cornell—Ithaca campus so far away from WCMC, however, many undergraduates miss out on educational opportunities that access to the medical college could provide.

Inspired by these issues, Chris B. Schaffer, Biomedical Engineering, and Michael G. Kaplitt, Neurological Surgery, WCMC, are trying to bridge this gap with the initiation of their innovative course, BME 411–Science and Technology Approaches to Problems in Human Health. The course exposes Cornell students on the Ithaca campus to applied medicine. Students learn how real biomedical research problems are identified, how medical research is conducted, and what it means to be a doctor—all of which show the connection between basic and applied biomedical research and healthcare. By hearing from clinicians and scientists in the field and participating in their own team projects, students can gain essential knowledge and experience for considering a future in medicine and biomedical research.


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