Undergraduate Courses in BME

BME 1501 Special Topics
Student led special topic courses which vary by semester. Generally appropriate for first and second year students.

BME 2000 Intro to BME Design & Discovery
Prerequisite: Major or Minor in Biomedical Engineering or instructor permission. Provides students with the skills necessary to engage in meaningful engineering design, and focuses on the latter stages of the engineering design process - detailed design, prototyping, and evaluation. Students develop skills in computer assisted design, embedded controls, prototyping, analysis and teamwork. A major focus of the class is the execution of a design project.

BME 2101 Physiology for Engineers I
Prerequisite: CHEM 1610, PHYS 1425, APMA 1110 or instructor permission. You will learn how excitable tissue, nerves and muscle, and the cardiovascular and respiratory systems function. You will develop an understanding of mechanisms, with an introduction to structure, an emphasis on quantitative analysis, and integration of hormonal and neural regulation and control.

BME 2102 Physiology for Engineers II
Prerequisite: PHYS 1425 and CHEM 1610 or instructor permission.
Introduces the physiology of the kidney, salt and water balance, gastrointestinal system, endocrine system, and central nervous system, with reference to diseases and their pathophysiology.

BME 2104 Cell & Molecular Biology for Engineers
Prerequisite: CHEM 1610 or instructor permission. Introduces the fundamentals of cell structure and function, emphasizing the techniques and technologies available for the study of cell biology. A problem-based approach is used to motivate each topic. Divided into three general sections: cell structure and function includes cell chemistry, organelles, enzymes, membranes, membrane transport, intracellular compartments and adhesion structures; energy flow in cells concentrates on the pathways of glycolysis and aerobic respiration; information flow in cells focuses on modern molecular biology and genetic engineering, and includes DNA replication, the cell cycle, gene expression, gene regulation, and protein synthesis. Also presents specific cell functions, including movement, the cytoskeleton and signal transduction.

BME 2220 Biomechanics
Prerequisite: APMA 2120, PHYS 1425, or instructor permission. Recommended pre- or co-requisite: APMA 2130.  Introduces the principles of continuum mechanics of biological tissues and systems. Topics include 1) review of selected results from statics and strength of materials, continuum mechanics, free-body diagrams, constitutive equations of biological materials, viscoelastic models, and fundamental concepts of fluid mechanics and mass transport; 2) properties of living tissue; 3) mechanical basis and effects of pathology and trauma, 4) introduction to mechanotransduction, circulatory transport, growth and remodeling, and tissue-engineered materials, and 5) low Reynolds number flows in vivo and in microsystems.

BME 2315 Computational BME
Prerequisite: CS 1110 or instructor permission. Introduces techniques for constructing predictive or analytical engineering models for biological processes. Teaches modeling approaches using example problems in transport, mechanics, bioelectricity, molecular dynamics, tissue assembly, and imaging. Problem sets will include 1) linear systems and filtering, 2) compartmental modeling, 3) numerical techniques, 4) finite element / finite difference models, and 5) computational automata models.

BME 3030 Design and Innovation in Medicine
Prerequisite: BME 2000 and instructor permission. Project-driven course focusing on biomedical product design, with an emphasis on marketability, innovation, entrepreneurship, and business. Topics covered include design fundamentals, problem/needs identification, delineation of realistic constraints and product specifications, intellectual property, market analysis, entrepreneurship, specific advanced design topics (e.g. design for manufacturing, cradle-to-grave product lifecycle analysis, etc.), business plan development, venture funding, and medical product testing methods.

BME 3080, 3090 BME Integrative Design & Experimental Analysis (IDEAS) Lab I & II
Prerequisite: 3rd year standing in the BME major, or instructor permission. Year-long course to integrate concepts and skills from prior courses in order to formulate and solve problems in biomedical systems, including experimental design, performance, and analysis. Lab modules include testing in tissues/cells and manipulation of molecular constituents of living systems to determine their structural and functional characteristics for design of therapeutic or measurement systems. Methods include biochemical, physiological, cell biology, mechanical, electrical and computer, systems, chemical, imaging, and other approaches.

BME 3240 Biotransport
Prerequisite: APMA 2120, 2130, BME 2101 and 2104 or equivalent, or instructor permission. Biotransport in biological living systems is a fundamental phenomenon important in all aspects of the life cycle. Course will introduce principles and application of fluid and mass transport processes in cell, tissue and organ systems. Topics include introduction to physiological fluid mechanics in the circulation and tissue, fundamentals of mass transport in biological systems, effects of mass transport and biochemical interactions at the cell and tissue scales, and fluid and mass transport in organs.

BME 3310 Biomedical Systems Analysis & Design
Prerequisites: APMA 2130, CS 1110, and PHYS 1425 or instructor permission. Presents the analytical tools used to model signals and linear systems. Specific biomedical engineering examples include multicompartment modeling of drug delivery, modeling of dynamic biomechanical systems, and electrical circuit models of excitable cells. Major topics include terminology for signals and systems, convolution, continuous time Fourier transforms, electrical circuits with applications to bioinstrumentation and biosystems modeling, and applications of linear system theory. Students may not receive credit for both ECE 3750 and BME 3310.

BME 3636 Neural Network Models of Cognition and Brain Computation
Prerequisite: CS 1110, BME 2101, or instructor permission. Introduction to neural networks research, specifically biologically-based networks that reproduce cognitive phenomena. The goal is to teach the basic thinking and methodologies used in constructing and understanding neural-like networks.

BME 4063, 4064 Biomedical Engineering Capstone Design I & II
Prerequisite: Fourth year standing in BME major or instructor permission. A year-long design project in biomedical engineering required for BME majors. Students select, formulate, and solve a design problem related to a device or a system. Projects use conceptual design, skills obtained in the integrated lab, and substantial literature and patent reviews. Projects may be sponsored by BME faculty, medical doctors, and/or companies. Students may work on their own with outside team members when appropriate or with other SEAS students in integrative teams.

BME 4280 Motion Biomechanics
Prerequisite: BME 2101 and 2220 or instructor permission. Focuses on the study of forces (and their effects) that act on the musculoskeletal structures of the human body. Based on the foundations of functional anatomy and engineering mechanics (rigid body and deformable approaches); students are exposed to clinical problems in orthopedics and rehabilitation.

BME 4414 Biomaterials 
Prerequisite: BME 2101 and 2104 or equivalent or instructor permission. Provides an introduction to biomaterials science and biological interactions with materials, including an overview of biomaterials testing and characterization. The emphasis of this course, however, will be on emerging novel strategies and design considerations of biomaterials. Areas of concentration will include the use of polymers and ceramics in biomaterials today, drug delivery applications, tissue engineering from both an orthopaedic and vascular perspective, and nanotechnology related to biomaterials. Specific attention will also be paid to the in vitro and in vivo testing of biomaterials, and a review of current research in the field.

BME 4417 Tissue Engineering 
Prerequisite: APMA 2130, BME 2101 and 2104 or equivalent, or instructor permission. Introduces the fundamental principles of tissue engineering. Topics include: tissue organization and dynamics, cell and tissue characterization, cell-matrix interactions, transport processes in engineered tissues, biomaterials and biological interfaces, stem cells and interacting cell fate processes, and tissue engineering methods. Examples of tissue engineering approaches for regeneration of cartilage, bone, ligament, tendons, skin and liver are presented.

BME 4550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering
Prerequisite: varies. Applies engineering science, design methods, and system analysis to developing areas and current problems in biomedical engineering.

BME 4550 Bioreaction Kinetics: Biomedical and Pharmacological Perspectives

Prerequisite: BME 2104 or CHE 2246 or equivalent and APMA 2130 or equivalent. Bridges the gap between the fields of Biomedical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering and the science of how drugs interact with biological systems (Pharmacology). The plan toward this goal involves: (1) learning about the principles of biochemical reaction kinetics and engineering, (2) demonstrating how such principles can help us describe, model, predict and modulate the outcome of biochemical reactions in cells, and (3) applying these principles to the understanding of pharmacological phenomena such as interactions between drugs and their molecular targets (aka Pharmacodynamics), and between drugs and the human body (aka Pharmacokinetics). This course may be a great choice for students who are seeking an internship or career in the pharmaceutical industry, or curious about the design and engineering of biochemical processes and the development and characterization of new therapies.

BME 4550 Design & Innovation in Medicine II: Design Practicum
Prerequisite: Students should have some practical experience in biomedical design. It is highly recommended you have experience with CAD or other design visualization software. A follow on course to Design & Innovation in Medicine (BME3030), this pilot course shall focus on using current design practices in medicine. While BME3030 lays the theoretical foundation for design thinking in biomedical engineering, this course will focus on applying that knowledge through iterative practice. Class assignments will be project-based, through learning modules, inclduing information design and data infographics, design for manufacturing & quality systems, regulatory sciences in medical devices, and ethical design considerations in health and equity in medicine. Interested students apply by submitting a 1/2 page personal statement.

BME 4550 Quantitative Biological Reasoning


Prerequisite: 4th year standing and instructor permission. Provides students with a quantitative framework for identifying and addressing important biological questions at the molecular, cell, and tissue levels. Part I covers methods, with an emphasis on the biochemical, biophysical, and mathematical themes that emerge repeatedly in quantitative experiments. Discussions will be preceded by primary literature that illustrate how in-depth understanding of such themes led to significant conceptual advances in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. Part II will focus on how quantitative methods combine to aid scientific logic. Topics will include practical implementations of the scientific method, falsification of hypotheses, and strong inference. Course concludes with an introduction to how quantitative biological reasoning can be effectively presented through scientific writing and information design.


BME 4550 Systems Bioengineering Modeling and Experimentation
Prerequisite: Fourth year standing or instructor permission. Introduces techniques for constructing mathematical and computational models of vascular biological processes and utilizing experimental methods to validate those models at many levels of organizational scale, from genome to whole-tissue. Students rotate through three modules where they attend lectures, read literature, and participate in discussions focused on various modeling and experimental validation techniques. In each module, they work in teams of three to complete group modeling projects that apply the modeling techniques specific to the particular module. Teams will also conduct experiments relevant to the biological question of each module. Topics to be covered include choice of modeling techniques appropriate to addressing particular biological problems at different scales, quantitative characterization of biological properties, assumptions and model simplification, parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis, model verification and validation, and integration of computational modeling with experimental approaches.

BME 4550 Mechanobiology
Prerequisite: Why are tumors detectable as stiff lumps? Why do fatty plaques in arteries only occur at certain locations? How does cell sensing of mechanical forces determine what kind of cell it becomes? Questions such as these describe the growing field of mechanobiology. In this course, we will explore and analyze mechanisms in mechanobiology at length scales from centimeters (organs) to nanometers (molecules), we will investigate how cell and tissue structure regulate phenotype, and we will learn to develop and test hypotheses in cell and tissue engineering that relate to our research and career interests.

BME 4550 BME Data Science
Prerequisite: APMA 3110 or equivalent and CS 1110 or equivalent. Introduces genomics and bioinformatics theory and tools to analyze large scale biological data. Topics: intro to Linux and R statistical programming language, computations on the high performance computational cluster and cloud computing, analysis of sequencing data with applications in gene expression and protein/DNA interactions, differential expression analysis, pathway and co-expression network analysis. Students will bring laptops to class.

BME 4550 Microbial BME

Prerequisites: BME 2000, BME 2101 & 2102, BME 2104, BME 2315. Provides an overview of engineering methods to use “microbes as tools” for human wellbeing, to understand and combat “microbes as enemies” in infectious disease, and to characterize and manipulate “microbes as partners” in human health and wellbeing.  We will learn how facets of biomedical engineering are used to test hypotheses of human/microbe relationships and to design strategies to understand and treat disease and improve human wellbeing.  Examples of industrial applications, engineering design, and computational modeling will be highlighted throughout the semester.

BME 4550 Molecular Data Science
Prerequisite: BME 2104 or equivalent, APMA 3110 or equivalent, and working knowledge of linear algebra, or instructor permission. Systems-level measurements of molecules in cells and tissues harbor the promise to identify the ways in which tissues develop, maintain, age, and become diseased. This class will introduce the systems-level measurement techniques for capturing molecular information and the mathematical and computational methods for harnessing the information from these measurements to improve our understanding of cell physiology and disease. This is a practical class, which involves implementation of the concepts in MATLAB and will be applied to existing, real data from published journal articles. Molecular topics will include: gene expression, microRNA, proteins, post-translational modifications, drugs, and splicing. Computational/mathematical topics covered will include: statistical inference, dimensionality reduction techniques, unsupervised and supervised machine learning, and graph-based techniques.

BME 4550 Stem Cell Engineering
Prerequisite: BME 2101 or instructor permission. Introduces the fundamental theories of stem cell biology, with an emphasis on practical methods to engineer cell fate for regenerative medicine applications. Includes laboratory component.

BME 4641 Bioelectricity
Prerequisite: BME 2101, BME 3310 or ECE 2630, or instructor permission. Studies the biophysical mechanisms governing production and transmission of bioelectric signals, measurement of these signals and their analysis in basic and clinical electrophysiology. Introduces the principles of design and operation of therapeutic medical devices used in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Includes membrane potential, action potentials, channels and synaptic transmission, electrodes, electroencephalography, electromyography, electrocardiography, pacemakers, defibrillators, and neural assist devices.

BME 4783 Medical Image Modalities
Prerequisite: BME 3310 or ECE 3750 or instructor permission. An overview of modern medical imaging modalities with regard to the physical basis of image acquisition and methods of image reconstruction. Topics cover the basic engineering and physical principles underlying the major medical imaging modalities: x-ray (plain film, mammography, and computed tomography (CT)), nuclear medicine (positron-emission tomography (PET) and single-photo-emission computed tomography (SPECT)), ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

BME 4806 Biomedical Applications of Genetic Engineering
Prerequisite: BME 2101, BME 2102, and BME 2104 or instructor permission. Provides a grounding in molecular biology and a working knowledge of recombinant DNA technology, thus establishing a basis for the evaluation and application of genetic engineering in whole animal systems. Beginning with the basic principles of genetics, this course examines the use of molecular methods to study gene expression, deliver viral and non-viral vectors, and its critical role in health.

BME 4890 Nanomedicine
Prerequisite: BME 2104 or CHE 2246 and BME 2220 or instructor permission. Recommended: BME 3240 or CHE 3321. Students will design treatment strategies for cancer and cardiovascular disease based on molecular bioengineering principles. Special topics will include design of nanoparticle drug and gene delivery platforms, materials biocompatibility, cancer immunotherapy, and molecular imaging.

BME 4993 Independent Study
Prerequisite: Instructor permission. In-depth study of a biomedical engineering area by an individual student in close collaboration with a departmental faculty member. Requires advanced analysis of a specialized topic in biomedical engineering that is  not covered by current offerings. Requires faculty contact time and assignments comparable to regular course offerings. Requires approval by UG Program Director.

BME 4995 Advanced Projects
Prerequisite: Instructor permission. A year-long research project in biomedical engineering conducted in consultation with a department faculty advisor; usually related to ongoing faculty research. Includes the design, execution, and analysis of experimental laboratory work and computational or theoretical computer analysis of a problem. Requires a comprehensive report of the results.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.