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BME Department Holds Midwest Biomedical Engineering Career Conference

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University hosted the 7th annual Midwest Biomedical Engineering Career Conference (MBECC) on Friday, April 1. This event drew more than 270 attendees from universities and industries throughout the Midwest, reflecting a 30 percent attendance increase compared to the last year. MBEC 2011 was sponsored by Ingenix Consulting, Wayne State, Kaufman Hall, W. L. Gore, Epic, Heartware, Medical Murray, and IIT, and was notable for providing opportunities for students to meet with leaders from industry, government, and academia.

The keynote speakers (Mike Vonesh, the Divisional Technology Leader at W.L. Gore and Associates; and Jeffrey LaRose, the Chief Scientific Officer at HeartWare, Inc.) kicked off the event by emphasizing the important roles biomedical engineers have played in their companies. Other events throughout the day included

- Panels: Global Health, Rehab/Neural Engineering, Visualization in Medicine, Innovation, Careers in Biotech and Pharma, Healthcare Consulting, Expectations in the Workplace, and BME Careers
- Student Poster Session: More than 25 student posters were presented, with monetary awards distributed to the top three places. The recipient of the first place award was a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Cierra Hall, Eric Lueshen, Martina Heitzig, and Andreas Linninger (adviser) presented a poster entitled, “Pharmacokinetic Scaling and Discovery of In Vivo Drug Distribution Mechanisms with A Novel Whole-Body Physiologically-Based Modeling Framework.”
- Career Networking: Students spoke with representatives from Ingenix Consulting, Wayne State, Kaufman Hall, W. L. Gore, Epic, Heartware, Medical Murray, Baxter, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Fenwal, LifeFitness, Boston Scientific, Cook Alex, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Molecular Diagnostics, Quidel Corporation, 3M, ZOLL Medical, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Engineering World Health, Medtronic, and GE Global Research.

Students commented on how useful this conference was for connecting with industry leaders, learning about current research in biomedical engineering, and providing insight about the broad career opportunities and how to prepare for them.

This event was primarily organized by Suzanne Olds of Northwestern’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Career Alliance, a non-profit organization that seeks to facilitate interactions between biomedical engineering / bioengineering programs and industry.