Gannon University Announces Biomedical Engineering Program Expansion

Posted: October 17, 2013


Gannon University's biomedical engineering program has announced expansion plans and a relocation to the W. Eighth St. building currently occupied by Gannon University's Erie Technology Incubator (ETI).

Rapid growth in the field and technological advancements created the need for a dedicated facility that will eventually occupy 4,480 sq. ft. on the second floor of the W. Eighth St. building. The biomedical engineering program previously shared classroom and laboratory space with the mechanical engineering department in the Zurn Science Center.

The new facility will incorporate a robotic device that can be used for understanding how the brain controls movements, and a motion capture system that records detailed movements used in a range of physical activities, such as running, walking or athletic applications.

The department will also employ an electromyography system measures the electrical activity of muscles and correlates that activity with the force that the muscle generates to produce a comprehensive mathematical model of the process.

Gannon's biomedical engineering program focuses on biomechanics-the study of force and motion on the body. Students learn how to build computer simulations for the movement of bones, ligaments, muscles, or the circulatory system to design implants or other medical devices that can help people recover from injury or illness.

Students gain ample hands-on experience in the region's only biomedical engineering Motion Capture Center while utilizing robotic devices to understand how the brain controls muscle movements. The lab also houses an electromyography system that measures electrical activity of muscles, and correlates that activity with the force that the muscle generates.

The program includes course offerings in biomaterials, biomechanics and biomedical systems modeling while also including curriculum from Gannon's current mechanical engineering, biology, chemistry and computer science programs.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine, "The Best And Worst Jobs For 2013," biomedical engineer ranked second. The Forbes article projected a 62% rate of job growth for biomedical engineers and an average annual salary for professionals in this field of about $81,540.

"Right now, we are seeing a very rapid development of the technology. Staying on top of the technology is what we're trying to do by setting up this facility," said Assistant Professor Davide Piovesan.

In addition to the relocation to the ETI building, Gannon's biomedical engineering students will benefit from the creation of a new Human Performance Laboratory in the University's Rec Center, now being modernized on W. Fourth St.

"The idea is to put together an experimental aspect so that we will work with the human performance expert to do the modeling part of the particular movement studied," Piovesan said.