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UIC BIOENGINEERING DEPARTMENT LANDS WHITAKER GRANT
The University of Illinois at Chicago's department of bioengineering recently received a $990,000 grant from the Whitaker Foundation to strengthen programs investigating how living tissue interacts with bioengineered materials.
The grant, which will be distributed over a three-year period, was given to UIC for its focus on interfacial molecular bioengineering and will be used largely for curriculum, faculty and departmental development. "It is our hope that the grant will help position UIC in the front ranks of emerging bioengineering technology," says Richard Magin, head of the bioengineering.
The key to solving many of today's challenges in both bioengineering and clinical sciences involves looking at those challenges at a molecular level. Magin believes that in the not-too-distant future companies like Abbott Laboratories, Baxter, Searle and even Motorola will require their new engineers to understand both the biology and the science of emerging technologies. With new curriculum developed from the Whitaker funding, UIC will be able to prepare graduates with such skills.
"Industries will need bioengineers because the drugs, devices and technologies being invented all operate on biological systems," Magin says. "You need someone who understands this.
"It's one thing to put a piece of stainless steel in the hip and quite another to put a living matrix that will provide functional support for the growth and differentiation of tissue in the body. This technology is coming, and our students will be very well prepared to move into such industries as they develop," Magin says, adding, "I'm a true believer."
UIC's department of bioengineering was established in 1997 and currently has five full-time faculty members with plans to hire another six over the next three years. Current focus areas include neural engineering, bioinformatics and cell and tissue engineering.
With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.
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