In biomedical engineering, experts see big research opportunities and some funding challenges. The interdisciplinary work necessary to develop biomedical engineering devices holds great potential for collaborative research, but challenges remain in making the technology available for public use. A panel consisting of Gene Robinson, John Rogers, Todd Coleman, and Rashid Bashir spoke of this and more at an event entitled "Visionary Frontiers at the Convergence of Biology, Medicine and Engineering" held in Washington, D.C.
Bioengineering is already leading to the development of integrated devices for diagnosing and treating diseases or improving health. Researchers are testing implantable, flexible electrodes that can monitor biological function or stimulate cell growth; "lab-on-a-chip" devices that can cheaply diagnose diseases; and better brain-computer interfaces that allow people to control prosthetics or even unmanned aircraft using only brain impulses.
However, the interdisciplinary nature of the field, which relies on experts in engineering, biology, medicine, and physical and materials science, can create challenges for those trying to apply that research and technology. In many cases, they must navigate funding and regulatory agencies accustomed to staying within the bounds of their specialties.
Read the full article at AAAS.org.