The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Department of Biomedical Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst! We are a young department that was founded in 2017 as part of a larger life sciences initiative at UMass Amherst to prepare students in biomedical engineering and to contribute to cutting-edge research in this field. During the 2020-21 academic year, the department is growing to 8 tenure-track faculty members, 4 lecturers and research faculty members, and 3 staff members, and I expect our growth trajectory to continue. The department is housed in new, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities on the 6th floor of the Life Science Laboratories building.

Our degree programs in biomedical engineering have quickly become popular choices for engineering students. We have over 300 students in our undergraduate program with the first class of B.S. students graduating in the 2020-21 academic year. At the graduate level, we are offering a research-focused doctoral degree program.

The research conducted within the department is in the broad areas of bioinstrumentation and imaging, biomaterials, tissue engineering and regeneration, and biomechanics. We work in close collaboration with colleagues in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Sciences. Several of our faculty members have their labs located at the UMass Medical School in Worcester, where they closely collaborate with UMMS researchers and practitioners.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our community of scholars and students is vibrant because of the diversity of our members and their contributions to our inclusive educational and work environment. We are committed to the efforts in the College, the University, and the nation to fight for racial and social justice.

To learn more about our department, please browse this website. For questions regarding the undergraduate program, please contact our undergraduate program director, Natalia Kolk. For questions regarding the graduate program, please contact our graduate program director, Dr. Seth Donahue. For all other questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

S. Thai Thayumanavan
Interim Department Head
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering Department News

What if cancer cells could help doctors cure two of humanity’s most heartbreaking and debilitating conditions, paralysis and brain damage? Assistant Professor Chase Cornelison of the Biomedical Engineering Department has received a three-year, $400,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Trailblazer Award to pursue his research into harnessing the proliferating power of cancer cells to treat spinal cord injuries and restore function...

Vernon Lamb, the lab support engineer and manager in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department, is the recipient of the inaugural Dean’s Outstanding Student Support Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize a staff member for significant contributions that enrich the student experience and/or have a positive impact on student development in the College of Engineering.

The Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department is awarding its 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards to Jeffrey Elkins ’86 (mechanical and industrial engineering) and Akshaya Shanmugam ’12MS, ’15PhD (electrical and computer engineering). Elkins will receive the BME Distinguished Alumni Award, while Shanmugam will be presented with the BME Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Because BME is a new department in the College of Engineering, the two recipients graduated from departments that existed before the BME did, but they have pursued biomedical engineering careers since then.

Sankaran Thai Thayumanavan will serve as interim department head of Biomedical Engineering (BME) starting in January of 2021 and has already taken on the role of an associate department head in BME in order to collaborate closely with the current interim BME department head, Tilman Wolf, during the transitional phase.