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Biomedical Engineering: Bridging Technology & Medicine 

Nowadays the provision of medical care worldwide has been entirely dependent on technology. The Biomedical Engineering (BME) field has been continuously providing the piles required to bridge the gap between advances in technology and demands for improving human’s well-being. Consequently, BME is involved in nearly all medical disciplines such as: cardiovascular, orthopedics, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, dentistry, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, forensics, sport science … etc. A biomedical engineer role is not only to design and maintain the technology necessary in diagnosing and treating medical conditions, but also to help in understanding these conditions and develop novel theoretical and practical solutions through creativity and innovation.

Biomedical engineering is an applied science aims at utilizing engineering principles to address healthcare demands. A biomedical engineer must always be prepared to analyze and solve problems facing physicians and healthcare providers. To be able to fulfill this role, BME students will receive exposure to basic sciences, medical and life sciences, engineering, and specialized BME courses. Such wide spectrum of courses will provide them with a foundation of multidisciplinary knowledge and skills in preparation for their prospective role. 

In addition to the fact that it merges engineering and medicine, the field of BME is very attractive due to the satisfaction associated with observing your work directly impacting people’s lives. In addition, it offers a range of career opportunities. Graduates can work in hospitals, companies, industry, research institutions, universities and government agencies with a variety of focus areas within the discipline.  Among these areas is the Clinical Engineering; which involves managing and maintaining medical instruments and equipment in hospitals. A clinical engineer typically looks after equipment in the surgical suite, intensive care unit (ICU), sterilization unit, medical gas system, hemodialysis unit, medical imaging and clinical laboratory.  Bioinstrumentation is another area that aims at developing diagnostic and therapeutic medical electronic devices. Bioinstrumentation engineers around the world are the hidden heroes during the current global COVID-19 pandemic considering their role in developing ventilators and COVID-19 testing device. Biomechanics or Biomechanical Engineering is a branch that applies the principles of engineering mechanics (motion and material deformation) to the human body. Therefore, a biomechanical engineer plays a crucial role in analyzing mechanics of body organs and tissue, designing fixation devices and artificial replacements for missing body parts or functions. Biomechanics also has many applications in rehabilitation medicine, sport science, dentistry, forensics and physiotherapy. Because the human body is sensitive to foreign substances, the devices inserted into the human body are made from special “body friendly” materials. Biomaterials is the branch that deals with synthesis of such materials and studying their potential interaction with living tissue. Orthopedic implants, dental materials, catheters and heart valves are examples of biomaterials. The field of biomaterials also has a great application in tissue engineering or regenerative medicine; in which soluble biomaterials are used to control the regrowth of living tissue in attempt to regenerate a missing part. 

To become a biomedical engineer, students should acquire good understanding of engineering principles and life sciences. Strengthening knowledge in math, physics, chemistry, biology, computer programming and engineering design is very helpful. Furthermore, it is essential for a biomedical engineer to acquire good communication skills, since he/she would need to communicate with different professionals. This requires understanding and proper use of engineering, science and medicine terminology. Since BME is a broad field, BME students are advised to explore possible career options to determine an area of interest and consequently focus their studies in a way that makes them marketable in that area. This is achievable through continuous internet searching, job shadowing, attending seminars and talking to professionals. 

Being pioneers in Kuwait, AIU Biomedical Engineering graduates are expected to play an important role in shaping the discipline in the country. They are expected to effectively contribute to the State of Kuwait’s Sustainable Development Goals though promoting BME service, research and education. Welcome to the world of Biomedical Engineering! 

-Mazin S.Sirry, PhD

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