Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Bioengineering’s Undergraduate Program landing page. Within this and other relevant pages you can find pertinent information about all aspects of the program.

For a complete description of the undergraduate curriculumbioengineering trackslist of undergraduate bioengineering coursesminors (bioengineering and other) and certificates, and other pertinent program-related matters, such as academic regulationsmentoring and advisingcooperative educationstudy abroadpost-graduation planning, etc., please refer to the Undergraduate Bioengineering Program Handbook.

For advising and further information contact:

Arash Mahboobin (mahboobin@pitt.edu
Undergraduate Coordinator 
302 Benedum Hall 
Office: 412-624-9819
Erin Schuetz (eeschuetz@pitt.edu
Undergraduate Administrator 
302 Benedum Hall 
Office: 412-624-7279

 

 

Oct
22
2018

BioE Undergraduate Research Recognized at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting

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PITTSBURGH (October 22, 2018) … Ellen Martin, a senior bioengineering student at the University of Pittsburgh, received an award for her research presented at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting on October 3 in Philadelphia, PA. The conference paper, “Characterizing the Required Friction during Ladder Climbing”, details her work on improving ladder safety and was selected as the best student paper by the Safety Technical Group at the meeting. Martin works with Kurt Beschorner, associate professor of bioengineering, in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Human Movement and Balance Laboratory where part of their research aims to create safer occupational environments by investigating the mechanics behind slips, trips, and falls. This diagram demonstrates the effect ladder angle has on center of mass (black circle) and foot angle. The increased horizontal distance between the center of mass and feet may explain the increased maximum RCOF at steeper ladder angles. According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration1, falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. “To help improve ladder safety, we investigated the risk of slipping by finding the amount of friction that a person requires to safely climb a ladder, known as the Required Coefficient of Friction (RCOF),” said Martin. “Ladders can be set up at different angles ranging from vertical to slanted so our group adjusted and measured the RCOF at various positions to determine which orientation was the safest for climbing.” RCOF is calculated as the friction force over normal force during climbing. Martin and the group measured these values by embedding force sensors into the ladder and using motion capture to find the orientation of the shoe. The orientation determined which part of the overall force was the friction force, where the shoe is parallel with the surface, and which part was the normal force, where the shoe is perpendicular with the surface. “A high RCOF value indicates that the subject requires a greater amount of friction force to stay stable, making the user more susceptible to slipping,” said Martin. “Based on our research, we determined that the RCOF was highest in the vertical configuration. This suggests that safety could be improved by making sure that a ladder is placed at an angle that keeps a person’s body over the ladder instead of hanging off of the ladder.” Beschorner has applied similar coefficient of friction assessment methods to his other work with gait and encouraged Martin to adapt it to climbing. He added, “Ms. Martin’s work is an important step for developing a mechanism-based model of slipping risk for ladder climbing. Such a model will enable us to develop new methods for assessing ladder rung traction, which is needed to select and design safer ladders.” ### 1 “According to the US Department of Labor’s...” https://www.osha.gov/Publications/portable_ladder_qc.html

Oct
16
2018

Swanson School Undergraduates Recognized for Developing a Kid-Friendly Pill Dispenser

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PITTSBURGH (October 16, 2018) … Two undergraduate students from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering participated in the Hack This. Help Kids pediatric healthcare hackathon on October 5-6, 2018. The Swanson School team, along with another Pitt undergraduate, won the Kids’ Choice Award for their prototype pill dispenser. The event was hosted by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and presented by the Citrone Thirty Three Foundation and Tulco. The hackathon participants spent 24 hours working in teams to solve a unmet pediatric problem identified by the hospital’s community. The team, called Sailbot 2020, included Kaylene Stocking, a senior bioengineering student; Jay Maier, a senior mechanical engineering student; and Andrew Lobos, a senior computer science student. Each group tackled a “pain point” topic for their project. The Sailbot 2020 team chose the “stick to the medicine schedule” option and decided to prototype a smart, kid-friendly pill dispenser. This “pain point” addresses the issue that pediatric patients, who may leave the hospital with a strict regimen, often have difficulty following a medication schedule. “Our idea was that a physician could enter what medications need to be taken at what time into our device, and it will track the medication schedule, alerting the patient and dispensing a pill at the appropriate times,” said Stocking. “The prototype can accommodate up to five pills for four different medications. The onboard screen also provides real-time instructions for parents on how to load the pills into each slot.” The team added additional features to target their main demographic - pediatric patients. “We utilized a touch screen and lights make it attractive for kids, and our thought was to later develop games would appeal to kids and make the process more fun,” said Stocking. The prototype was successful in this regard because it proceeded to the competition finals and was awarded the Kids Choice Award by a panel of adolescent judges. Regarding their success, Stocking said, “We built the prototype in under 20 hours, so we were pretty happy with the result!” ###

Sep
24
2018

Bioengineering sends a record number of undergraduates to the 2018 BMES Annual Meeting

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PITTSBURGH (September 24, 2018) … The University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering is gearing up for this year’s Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting. The Swanson School of Engineering will be represented by a number of faculty and students; most notably, a department record-breaking 57 undergraduate students. This year’s meeting will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event on October 17-20 in Atlanta, Georgia. “We encourage our undergraduate students to take their education experience beyond the classroom and participate in scientific research. BMES is a great opportunity for them to present their work and learn more about their field by attending talks and networking with other participants,” said Arash Mahboobin, undergraduate coordinator and assistant professor of bioengineering. Over 35 bioengineering undergraduate students presented at the 2017 annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ. For BMES 2018, the department saw over a sixty percent increase in the amount of participants with 57 students presenting 59 submitted abstracts. The large number of participating students this year could make the Pitt BMES chapter a contender for the Fleetest Feet Award, which acknowledges the chapter traveling the most miles to attend the conference (the number students times the distance traveled). The award was founded in 1992 by the Arizona State University BMES student chapter and promotes student participation in the BMES Annual Meeting. “It is great to see our students continually show interest in this annual event,” said Sanjeev Shroff, professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering. “This group of talented individuals will help showcase the impressive research being performed in the Swanson School of Engineering.” ###

Apr
17
2018

Seven Bioengineering Students Recognized by the 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

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The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees. Recipients are awarded a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees. This year, six bioengineering students at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering received this competitive award, and one received an honorable mention. “Needless to say, I am delighted by this outstanding outcome,” said Sanjeev Shroff, Distinguished Professor and McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering at Pitt. “This underscores the quality of our students and their potential to serve as science ambassadors.  I am very happy to note that the infrastructure we had put in place six years ago to provide structured help to students applying for NSF-GRFP awards is now bearing fruit. This effort is currently led by Professor Patrick Loughlin, with support from several Swanson School faculty members and students who previously won NSF-GRFP awards.” The NSF Fellows are expected to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. Current bioengineering students who were awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship include: Henry Phalen, undergraduate student in Dr. Ervin Sejdić’s lab Adam Lewis Smoulder, undergraduate student in Dr. Neeraj Gandhi’s lab Sarah Hemler, graduate student in Kurt Beschorner’s lab Angelica Janina Herrera, graduate student in Jen Collinger’s lab Monica Fei Liu, graduate student in Doug Weber’s lab Megan Routzong, graduate student in Dr. Steven Abramowitch’s lab Maria Kathleen Jantz, a current bioengineering graduate student in Robert Gaunt’s lab, received an honorable mention. In addition to the current Swanson School students, two bioengineering alumni were also recognized: Luke Dmach, a graduate student in Georgia Tech’s biomedical engineering program, received the NSF-GRFP award; and Corey Williams, a graduate student in the University of Virginia’s biomedical engineering program, received an honorable mention. In total, eleven University of Pittsburgh students and four alumni were awarded the 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Eleven Pitt students and four alumni also received honorable mentions. Read more from the University of Pittsburgh’s press release.

Feb
16
2018

Undergraduate Students Awarded at the Engineers’ Society of Western PA Annual Banquet

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PITTSBURGH (February 16, 2018) … Last night as engineers from across the region gathered to attend the 134th Annual Engineering Awards Banquet of the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP), the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering announced its recipients of the George Washington Prize. This year’s recipient is Le Huang, an undergraduate student in bioengineering and an active member of the Swanson School community during her time at Pitt. Huang works as a research assistant in the Cardiovascular Systems Laboratory where she is developing a MATLAB-based mathematical model of the human cardiovascular system. Prior to that, she worked in the Cognition and Sensorimotor Integration Laboratory and has been a teaching assistant for several bioengineering and chemistry courses. Additionally, Huang is involved in Pitt’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) where she serves on the executive board, co-chairs the Women in STEM Conference, and acts as an outreach activity leader for K-12 students. Pitt’s award-winning SWE chapter organizes events around the city of Pittsburgh to young women to explore STEM opportunities. Finalists for the George Washington Prize are Isaac Mastalski (Chemical Engineering) and Adam Smoulder (Bioengineering). Semi-finalists are Jennifer Cashman (Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science) and Sean Justice (Electrical and Computer Engineering). “The Swanson School is proud to recognize Le and the other finalists for their outstanding accomplishments at Pitt,” said Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt. “Le and her colleagues are very deserving of this competitive award, and we think they will be successful Pitt Engineering alumni.” The George Washington Prize, founded in 2008, honors the first President of the United States and the country’s first engineer. Its mission is to reinforce the importance of engineering and technology in society, and the enhance the visibility of the profession across the Swanson School’s engineering disciplines. The annual award recognizes Pitt seniors who display outstanding leadership, scholarship and performance as determined by a committee of eight professional engineers and Swanson School faculty. Winners receive a $2500 Dean’s Fellowship and award plaque. An additional $7,500 is awarded to the winner if he or she attends graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1880, ESWP is a nonprofit association of more than 850 members and 30 affiliated technical societies engaged in a full spectrum of engineering and applied science disciplines. Now in its 134th year, the annual Engineering Awards Banquet is the oldest award event in the world - predating the Nobel Prize (1901), the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (1907), and the Pulitzer Prize (1917).