Design and Clinical Immersion

The UVA Biomedical Engineering program starts with an advantage that most programs cannot hope to equal: co-location with the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the UVA Medical Center.

Proximity has a pervasive impact on every aspect of our students’ education. Our students see patients and physicians every day. They interact with them, shadowing physicians and working as scribes. They employ their engineering problem-solving skills in clinical settings. Even something as fundamental as the organization of our faculty reflects our co-location: half our professors have primary appointments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and half in the School of Medicine. Clinical faculty members serve as mentors for our capstone projects.

Undergraduates also have the opportunity to apply to the BME Clinical Scholars program, a 10-week summer program that immerses undergraduate BME majors in clinical settings alongside third-year medical students. BME Clinical Scholars gain a firsthand view of how hospitals really work, observe clinicians in action, and perhaps identify overlooked clinical problems.

Colocation is particularly valuable for premed students who see in BME a productive alternative to a traditional course of study. Quantitative approaches to diagnosing and treating disease are spreading throughout medicine. In addition to working with BME faculty members who are developing these approaches, co-location gives students the opportunity to observe how they are applied in a clinical setting.

  • BME 3030 Design and Innovation in Medicine

    Take the dive into medical device design


    BME 3030 Design and Innovation in Medicine (Spring Term)

    Limited enrollment. Instructor permission required. A crash course in medical device design which follows the Stanford Biodesign model and incorporates IDEO’s Human Centered Design methods. As a team, you will:

    • Identify problems in the clinic
    • Define its needs
    • Generate concepts
    • Sketch, engineer, and prototype
    • Pitch your ideas!


    Lectures will supplement your experiences with guest speakers about intellectual property, market research, regulation and reimbursement, clinical development, and fundraising. You will be able to network and interact with clinical experts, biotech entrepreneurs, and members of the UVa License and Venture group. This class you teach all about entrepreneurship and innovation. Past projects have gone to become capstone projects, independent research, grants recipients, and start-up companies!


    Identifying and improving a process under intense time constraints

    BME 3030 Design and Innovation in Medicine (J Term)

    Over J Term 2018, Dr. Allen and Mr. Chen leveraged UVA's new research and education partnership with Inova Health System.  Client/needs identification took place in Inova's Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center and thr Inova Center for Personalized Health.


    Course Contacts

    Timothy Allen, PhD

    David Chen, MBA

  • BME Clinical Scholars

    BME Clinical Scholars immerses undergraduate BMEs in clinical settings working alongside third-year medical students in their clinical rotations at the UVA Medical Center


    BME Clinical Scholars

    See for yourself how hospitals really work, observe clinicians in action, identify important and often overlooked clinical problems, bring your engineering expertise to bear, and find opportunities to educate your peers. Students will identify unmet clinical needs and generate clinically relevant problems and case studies to be explored for the department's courses, students, and faculty. 

    • You must be a 2nd year or 3rd year BME or Nanomedicine Major at UVA to apply.
    • 5 Scholars selected annually.
    • Ten paid weeks during the summer. 
    • Program funded by a National Institutes of Health R25 Award.


    Details of the program, along with applications, are found on our web site.

    BME Clinical Scholars Website and Application
  • Stacey Hall and the Coulter Lab

    Ever-evolving maker spaces in Stacey Hall


    Coulter Lab in Stacey Hall

    Led by David Chen, Director of the UVA-Coulter Translational Research Partnership.  Located in Stacey Hall on Main Street. Contact: Hannah Moore, Coulter Translational Partnership Coordinator, 434-924-5102.

    BME Fabrication Lab

    Led by William Guilford, BME Professor and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education. Located in Stacey Hall on Main Street. 434-243-2740.


    Other Maker Spaces on UVA Grounds


  • BME 4995 "Research or Design for Credit"

    BME Majors may do independent research or design for credit in a BME Lab or other UVA Lab. All projects must be mentored or co-mentored by a BME primary faculty member or other approved engineering school faculty. All projects must approved by the BME Undergraduate Program Director using this form. The course number is BME 4995 Advanced Projects. You are responsible for adding BME 4995 to your schedule once your project is approved. The deadline for turning in the BME 4995 proposal form for Dr. S Barker's approval is the semester's first day of classes.

    • You must submit the form for approval EACH SEMESTER you plan to do research or design for credit (even for a continuing project).
    • For each credit hour earned, you must spend at least 3-4 hours per week in the lab, for a minimum of 10 hours/week for 3 credit-hour course.
    • Relationship between Advanced Projects & Capstone Projects: Unless the two projects are entirely separate, you may NOT earn credit for BME 4995 at the same time you are earning credit for BME 4063, 4064.
    • BME Majors may count up to six credits (total) of BME 4995 toward the degree. Three (3) credits may be used as a BME Elective, and the other three (3) credits may be used as an Unrestricted Elective.
    BME 4995 Proposal Form
  • BME Master in Engineering

    The BME Master in Engineering at UVA is a 30 credit hour, 15-month curriculum of carefully sequenced courses that give students the end-to-end skills needed to develop and commercialize biomedical innovations. The program is for biomedical engineers who have just finished their undergraduate degree or who have been in the field for a few years. By the time they graduate, ME students will have observed 60-100 hours of patient care and clinical procedures and developed a product or process that advances the current standard of care. Many will have also completed a paid BIOME internship with UVA Health or a local biotechnology company.

    The BME ME was launched in 2019 and is a popular first destination for UVA Engineers who want to apply their skills to developing innovative medical technologies. To learn more about the BME Master of Engineering and how to apply, contact Professor of the Practice and Director of Professional Studies Dr. Jonathan Rosen at

    BME Master in Engineering at UVA

A New Machine for Charlie

The BME Design students wanted to built Charlie a tricycle that looked less like a medical machine, and more like a kid's toy.

The BME Coulter Lab, Where Science Serves Humanity

A maker space where undergraduates translate medical research into fully realized projects, ranging from 3D printed prosthetics to redesigned medical devices.