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Bioengineering Graduate Program Approved

UC Approves UCR’s Graduate Bioengineering Program

UCR gets the University of California's okay to proceed with interdepartmental M.S. and Ph.D. bioengineering programs.

(March 6, 2007)

Graduate Student Xiulin Shen in Assistant Professor Jiayu Liao's laboratory

Graduate Student Xiulin Shen in Assistant Professor Jiayu Liao's laboratory

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — Capping a two-year effort, the University of California has given the go-ahead for UC Riverside to enroll masters and doctorate students into a newly created Interdepartmental Bioengineering Graduate Program.

The UC, in a February 2007 letter from Wyatt R. Hume, UC provost and executive vice president of academic and health affairs, approved the graduate bioengineering programs retroactive to December 2006.

Over the past two years, officials at the Bourn College of Engineering established the Department of Bioengineering, a bachelor’s degree curriculum in bioengineering and recruited seven core faculty members.

“Many bioengineering programs focus on biomedical applications, while UCR’s program will emphasize the engineering of living systems,” wrote Wyatt R. Hume, UC provost and executive vice president of academic and health affairs. “Students can select concentrations ranging from molecular biology and bioinformatics to instrumentation and medical devices.”

Hume’s letter to UCR carried the signature of UC President Robert Dynes.

“This new program expands the excellence of the Bourns College of Engineering and reflects the importance of engineering solutions to our country’s and global health care needs,” said Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR.

With the development of the Department of Bioengineering and the approval for graduate programs, UCR is on track to host the 2008 Conference of the Bioengineering Institute of California, a meeting of the UC multi-campus research unit in bioengineering. As a member of the UC Systemwide Biomedical Engineering Education Consortium, UCR will have access, and contribute to, the best courses, equipment and approaches developed by the UC system.

“Our new interdepartmental graduate programs will provide an interdisciplinary framework for our students to benefit from all the life science research resources across the campus,” said Department of Bioengineering Chair Jerome Schultz, who spearheaded the development of the department, its undergraduate and graduate programs. “And we will be positioned to have a key role in the research agenda of the new Health Science Research Institute.”

Schultz and leaders at the Bourns College of Engineering started classes at the Department of Bioengineering in September 2006. Fifty incoming freshmen supplemented 24 other undergraduates enrolling from other programs to a dozen undergraduate courses.

The campus has supported the development of bioengineering by hiring a core faculty of seven and offering support from 30 affiliated faculty from other departments and from the College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences. The Department recently acquired state-of-the-art facilities for high-throughput screening of biological systems, biophotonics laboratories, and microfluidic systems for its new group of graduate students. The Bioengineering Department is slated to move into a new $65 million Material Science and Engineering Building, to be completed in the summer of 2009. The new building will offer 77,000 square feet, of which 12,375 square feet will be dedicated to bioengineering.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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