Junior Biomedical Engineering

Week 1 July 8–12 Week 2 July 15–19 Week 3 July 22–26
Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials: Engineering Nature Regenerative Medicine: From Prometheus to Modern Research Hands-on Neuroscience

Biomedical engineering is a multi-disciplinary subject that integrates engineering principles and processes with medical science. Understanding the functions and dynamics of the human body has led to many innovative developments that have vastly improved the quality of life for people young and old. Biomedical engineering explores how engineering design has revolutionized medical science. Participants will have the opportunity to investigate the intersection of advanced medical technology, the role of the environment and how to apply key concepts in body mechanics to medical engineering. This is an excellent option for students interested in both biology and engineering, or those aspiring to pursue a medical career.

J-BIO MED-1 | Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials: Engineering Nature

Week 1 (8–12 July 2013)

Through billions of years of evolution, nature has created unique solutions to a variety of problems that have puzzled scientists and engineers. In the past, humans have observed these unique solutions and used them to our benefit. One of the most well known of these is Velcro®, which was inspired by a common forest nuisance: a bur. Burs have a nasty tendency to stick to all types of fabrics because of their tiny hook-shaped hairs. With recent technological advances in electron microscopes (which are similar to optical microscopes, but are able to achieve much higher magnifications) we are able to view more of these tiny unique features found in nature to better understand how they are responsible for the properties they create. In this course, using electron microscopy and fundamentals in physics, students will study numerous biological samples close-up and uncover the origin behind useful properties found in nature. Primary examples will be: super-hydrophobic leaves, anti-reflective insect eyes, sticky gecko feet and butterfly wings that are coloured without using pigments.

Instructor: Leo Monaco

J-BIO MED-2 | Regenerative Medicine: From Prometheus to Modern Research

Week 2 (15–19 July 2013)

The mythological story of Prometheus, whose damaged liver repaired itself overnight, is one of the earliest mentions of tissue regeneration. In modern times, regenerative medicine is an area of cutting-edge research. Scientists are working towards growing functional tissues and organs in petri dishes—a process known as “tissue engineering”—as well as stimulating the body to heal itself via stem cell therapy. The underlying goal of regeneration is to harness nature’s power to treat everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to heart failure. This course will familiarize students with the science, design and ethical considerations behind this innovative field of research. Through hands-on design activities and a guided tour through the latest findings in research, students will be given the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a biomedical engineer at the forefront of medical advancement.

Instructor: Nika Shakiba

J-BIO MED-3 | Hands-on Neuroscience

Week 3 (22–26 July 2013)

This course will cover cutting-edge technological and scientific developments in the field of neuroscience: scalpel-free neurosurgery, optogenetics, mind-reading (through functional MRI), brain simulations, neuroplasticity, concussions, new stroke treatments, and the cognitive benefits of physical and mental exercise. Through lectures, hands-on activities and facility tours, students will learn about the engineering that has made these scientific developments possible. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with biomedical equipment used in neuroscience and will employ engineering concepts through various activities including testing helmet design, analyzing physiological signals, developing neuropsychological tests and more. In addition, students will have the opportunity to act as scientists by formulating questions of their own and developing experiments to test their hypotheses. For example, we will test how various exercises could improve cognitive function.

Instructor: David Crane

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