Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto
Biomedical engineering integrates physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science with engineering principles to teach biology, medicine, human behaviour, and health. Ryerson University offers the first standalone program in Canada to do so!
Ryerson biomedical engineering students Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires, recently created a prosthetic arm that is controlled by brain signals. This is a groundbreaking first in medical prosthetics. They founded a company called Bionik Laboratories to commercialize the prosthetic arm and other biomedical devices, including artificial lungs and other brain-controlled devices. Check out their video.
Part of Ryerson’s electrical & computer engineering department (the largest in the Engineering, Architecture & Science faculty), the biomedical engineering program connects with 7 world-class hospitals in the neighbourhood. The program uses tools from engineering and computer science to teach biology fundamentals from molecules to organ systems. You will learn to develop innovative medicines, devices, and implants to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. You will also learn to apply this knowledge to patient rehabilitation and the general improvement of health.
The program mashes up aerospace engineering, biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, computer science, industrial & mechanical engineering, and mathematics. It offers a specialization in management science and an internship program.
All Ryerson engineering students take the same first year courses. Second year biomedical students learn physiology and cell biology as well as electronics, mathematics, and computer systems. In third year you learn how microprocessors and electrical and computer control systems apply to bioinformatics and biomedicine. In fourth year you get inside some leading edge topics, culminating in a team design project that solves a real-world problem.
Interested in becoming a bio-engineering leader or entrepreneur? Choose the management science option as you enter second year. Third year students in can enroll in a co-op program called the Industrial Internship Program (IIP). If selected by an employer, you get to spend 12-16 months as a biomedical intern.
Electrical & computer engineering professors do a variety of fascinating research projects, and some lucky students get an opportunity to participate in their research.
Watch this testimonial from two sisters and a brother who all received their masters degrees in biomedical engineering from Ryerson at the same time.
According to the U.S. government's latest forecast, in 2012 biomedical engineering jobs will increase almost twice as fast as the overall engineering average. Biomedical engineers get jobs in industry, hospitals, education, and medical research facilities, as well as government agencies. They often bridge the gaps between professionals in engineering and biomedicine.
Biomedical engineers get to invent new products and procedures, whether an innovative heart monitor, a cell-based therapy for healing wounds, a new drug to demolish dangerous germs, or even a body armor that withstands the attacks of nasty weapons. In hospitals, graduates buy and manage high-tech equipment to diagnose, monitor and treat disease. In research institutions, graduates lab experiments and do groundbreaking research. Government jobs involve product testing and safety, or creating better safety standards.
Sample design projects that you may explore as a biomedical engineering student:
- A “smart” telephone system that is easily operated by people with physical disabilities.
- A wristwatch with sensors and wireless Bluetooth that monitors limb tremors related to Parkinson’s disease.
- A wireless blood-pressure monitor that transmits a patient’s readings to the doctor’s office via text messaging.
Although Ryerson’s biomedical engineering program is the first in Canada, it is no longer the only one.
Finally, there is a biomedical computing program available at Queens University, a biomedical computer option at Carleton University, and a biomedical communications program offered jointly through University of Toronto and its Mississauga campus.