The one-of-a-kind clinical translation program uses UCD’s strengths in Engineering, Management, Design, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine to walk students through the steps of the engineering design process from problem finding, to design and marketing of biomedical products.
Starting this year, UC Davis engineering and design seniors can enroll in an interdisciplinary course series that trains them in all the steps of the design process, from needs finding to commercialization. “Clinical Translation Design Innovation Challenge” will be an interdisciplinary experience involving participants from the College of Engineering, the Graduate School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Design Department.
While engineering majors typically complete a design project in their senior year, these courses tend to start with predefined problems. Students focus mainly on the design steps from concept generation to prototyping. To enrich the student experience, “Clinical Translation Design Innovation Challenge” will extend the scope of the design education to incorporate important elements of the design process that come before and after these steps.
Under the leadership of Dr. Angelique Louie, Biomedical Engineering, participating faculty will develop courses that supplement existing engineering design courses to provide students with a clinical immersion experience, and instruction and mentoring through the business aspects of biomedical design. The yearlong course consists of a cadre of 7 classes offered over the course of a year.
The course expands upon the success of the Biomedical Engineering Department’s Capstone Senior Design course. The Capstone courses are a 2-quarter sequence during which the students must design a biomedical device or process and deliver a functional prototype. Dr. Louie has taught the Capstone Senior Design since its first offering. Originally presenting faculty and industry projects, the Capstone course under her direction has evolved to include a wide range of clinical projects. Beginning with the Veterinary School then expanding to the Medical School, each year she interviews clinicians, who submit scores of project ideas, to screen for projects suitable for a 6- month team effort. The projects range from the design of head-restraint devices for neurosurgery to adapting electroactive polymers for use in restoring eyelid blink function. This past year included projects from nonprofit entities such as the Marine Mammal Rescue Center, and dentists in Mexico who provide treatment for poor rural populations. Dr. Louie has also recruited industry sponsors for senior design projects.
The new program will support more varied and intensive design projects than the current Capstone course, and give students real-world entrepreneurial experience. The program is unique, because few universities can match UC Davis’ rich array of educational resources and possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration. The Clinical Translation Design Innovation Challenge has received funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering (NIBIB). “The NIH has shown tremendous dedication to the training of young biomedical engineers, particular through the creation of this funding mechanism. We are so grateful to the NIH for supporting our proposed program.” Says Dr. Louie, “We have some really unique experiences planned and I am particularly excited about our new summer program. The funding allows us to offer an intensive summer experience. Open to all engineering majors we will be offering an intensive clinical rotation experience. The term project for this course is to develop “Needs Finding Virtual Experience” videos. These videos should document the key observations and interactions that were most useful to the needs-finding experience. These videos will form a library that will be used in a future lower division design course to substitute for the clinical rotation. The 8 students in this 6-week program will be selected through an application process and paid as interns for their efforts.”
Distinguished Professor Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, the Biomedical Engineering Department Chair, says, “This grant support from the National Institutes of Health is a stamp of approval for this innovative program. At UC Davis, we are embarking on creating a translational institute that straddles engineering and medicine. The idea is to create a structured environment that allows us to channel the results of our research in a translational or commercial direction. Support to Prof. Louie’s proposal suggests that we are on the right path.”
Clinical Translation Design Innovation Challenge Program of Study
Summer: Clinical needs-finding video project.
1. Translational Design Innovation Course I (new). This course is open to all engineering majors. The students will experience needs finding through clinical rotations at the Medical and Veterinary Hospitals in various participating departments.
2. Simultaneous with the clinical rotations will be a course (new) offered by the Graduate School of Management that focuses on the management of innovation and entrepreneurship.
1. Senior design (existing): Device Design. Students enroll in their own Department’s senior design course. During this quarter, students typically brainstorm and develop project designs on paper. This course includes a three-hour a week machine shop lab and a two-hour a week CAD lab
2. Translational Design Innovation Course II (new): Students teams will attend “mentoring” sessions with industry business people, supplied by the GSM to guide them through considering the market aspects for their design.
1. Senior Design (existing): Manufacturing. Students enroll in their own Department’s senior design course. Typically this quarter is when prototypes are constructed and tested.
2. Translational Design Innovation Course III (new): By the end of this quarter the teams will have a working prototype, and also be poised to start their own company or file IP/license to companies, depending on what best suits their market profile.
The year culminates in the annual BME Design Symposium, a daylong scientific conference, and an “Evening of Innovation” event where the teams will present extended elevator pitches and marketing materials to industry representatives and venture capitalists assembled by our GSM partners, and the participating faculty in engineering and medicine.