About BME at UVA

Our Core Principles

In biomedical engineering at UVA, engineering rigor and invention are our core principles, but we start with a focus on biology.

Whether we are modeling or engineering cells and tissues, analyzing large datasets, developing new imaging technologies, or synthesizing novel biomaterials, the problem statement always starts with the biology underlying the system, therapy, or disease process.

Our co-location within the highly-ranked UVA School of Medicine and Health System uniquely positions us to influence the future of healthcare. Our culture values and rewards collaboration, initiative, and the translation of basic advances to achieve clinical and real world impact. In all that we do, we value and strive for diversity and inclusion.

  • Recognized Excellence

    The BME department at UVA was founded in 1967 as a joint program of the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Today there are 26 core BME faculty members and more than 30 joint faculty members from multiple schools and departments. We have a student population of more than 90 graduate students and nearly 300 undergraduate students from across the country and the world. The BME building, built with support from a Whitaker Foundation award, is centrally located in the School of Medicine complex and is adjacent to the University’s Cardiovascular Research Center, the Couric Cancer Center, and the Carter Immunology Center.  Current BME research foci are (a) systems biology, computational modeling and biomedical data science, (b) cell and tissue engineering, and (c) biomedical imaging.  These technologies are often applied to cardiovascular disease, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and infectious and neurological diseases.

    BME at UVA is regularly recognized among the top programs in the country for its research, educational, and translational activities. For example, we received a Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Partners Award, one of only nine departments to receive such support across the country. Among our faculty are recipients of many awards, including three recipients of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Rita Schaffer Young Investigator, an NIH New Innovator awardee, an NIH Transformative Research awardee, and two winners of NSF CAREER awards.  Our graduate students are regularly recognized and supported by external NSF and American Heart Association fellowships (6 of each over past 2 years, and 7 NSF honorable mentions). The department is home to an NIH T32 Training grant for graduate students (Transdisciplinary Big Data Science Training at UVA) and an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) award (Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering).  In the past, two UVA faculty members were presidents of BMES.

  • Translational Activities

    A key feature of the BME environment is the translation of research discoveries into innovations that have a real-world impact on the practice of medicine. Faculty and students have started multiple companies, licensed technologies to leading international corporations, and improved medical practice. These translational activities take place in an environment with top-ten undergraduate and graduate business schools and several pan-University programs, including the BME-led Coulter Program. led by David Chen, Instructor of Biomedical Engineering, and the Data Science Institute, led by Dr. Philip Bourne, Professor of Biomedical Engineering. These translational activities have been supported through private (venture capital, angel, foundation) and federal (NIH, NSF) programs.

    UVa Coulter Translational Research Partnership
  • Educational Mission

    We enjoy a vibrant student community in the BME department, where the students are truly partners with the faculty and University community in biomedical discovery and innovation. The UVa BME graduate and undergraduate students are recognized with international awards, publications in highly-respected journals, and as leaders of externally-funded projects. The student-led BMES chapter has been recognized several times as the preeminent chapter in the nation at the annual BMES conference.