WPI, UMMC Establish Joint Ph.D. Program

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - WPI and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center have established a . Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering. The program, which combines the resources of a technological university with those of a medical school and biomedical sciences research center, offers shared courses and options to do thesis work at either institution. Graduates will receive a joint degree from WPI and the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The program, which is expected to enroll 10-20 students within the next five years, is intended to prepare graduates for careers as biomedical researchers or faculty in the emerging field of medical engineering; employment prospects are also promising in academia and in the biomedical device industry.

The new program gives formal recognition to one aspect of a collaboration between the two universities that has existed since the medical center was established 25 years ago. UMass faculty have served as mentors to WPI master's and doctoral candidates for many years and WPI students have been able to take courses at the medical school through the Colleges of Worcester Consortium.

"WPI is proud to be a part of this forward-thinking collaboration," says Robert A. Peura, professor and head of the Biomedical Engineering Department. "I believe that graduates of the WPI/UMMC program will be among the best-educated in the countryŚwith a superb background in biomedical science and engineering that should enable them to contribute significantly to research and innovation in the field throughout their careers."

"We feel that the marriage between WPI and the UMass Medical Center represents an important step forward that neither institution could have achieved alone," says Thomas B. Miller Jr., M.D., dean of the UMass Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "Training Ph.D.-level students to apply the principles of engineering to biomedical research and patient care is an important step forward in the process of prevention, treatment and cure of diseases."

"We applaud the formal establishment of this program," says Aaron Lazare, M.D., UMMC chancellor and dean of the medical school. "The program should further cement relations between our nationally prominent medical center and WPI, recognized as one of the best technological schools in the Northeast. Combining our expertise in medically related research with the excellence and expertise in engineering at WPI should result in a program that is highly attractive to both students and potential employers. We also feel it will be instrumental in keeping Massachusetts in the forefront of the medical device industry."