March 7, 2008

BioExpo Links Students to Industry Leaders

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“Integrating Biological and Environmental Engineering Research with Industry” was the theme of this year’s Bioengineering Exposition held Wednesday in Duffield Atrium. The event was hosted by Cornell’s chapter of the student-run organization, the Institute of Biological Engineering, which seeks to stimulate curiosity in the field of biological and environmental engineering.
The symposium was primarily aimed at creating a forum where biological and environmental engineering majors could share technological and research advancements related to their field of study with the community at large. According to its site, IBE strives to prepare its members for careers through networking with alumni, organizing information sessions and holding graduate student panels, as well as uniting members by means of social events and peer advising.
According to the IBE executive board, BioExpo 2008 marked the first successful attempt at having a biotechnology company showcase at Cornell; previous years featured only poster presentations. This made the event an ideal venue for exposing BEE students to engineering careers that are biological, environmental and biomedical in nature. In turn, biotechnology firms witnessed the cutting-edge research being conducted by Cornell undergraduates, graduate students, professors and laboratory groups.
Naweed Paya ’09, the company showcase director, highlighted the inclusion of industry as a factor unique to the sixth annual BioExpo.[img_assist|nid=28625|title=Consider this|desc=Ajinkya Rane ’09 presents his group research project on Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome to Richard Newman ’68 at BioExpo 2008 on Wednesday in Duffield Hall.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“[We hope] to expand the vision of the Bio-Expo [by reaching out] not only to students of Biological and Environmental Engineering, but also to industries,” Paya said.
Flora Felsovalyi ’01, a representative of Becton, Dickson and Company praised the idea of combining company showcases with research presentations.
“A lot [of attendees] treat this as a recruiting event,” she said.
Felsovalyi also said she believes that the BEE program has significantly evolved from what it was when she was an agricultural and biological engineering major.
Ankur Chawdury ’08, one of four students presenting a class project in BEE 453: Computer-Aided Engineering: Applications to Biomedical Processes, thinks that this year’s turnout owes itself to the improved advertising.
“They advertised a lot better this year,” he said.
Speakers were chosen to represent the diversity of the BEE field of study. The first keynote was speaker Richard Newman ’68, former vice president of Advanced Technology Welch Allyn, who has a background in biomedical engineering. During his talk, he told the audience that Cornell has the potential to advance in the field.
The second speaker was Michael Schrader PE, vice president of Woodard Curran, who is experienced in environmental engineering. The final speaker, Dr. Michael L. Shuler, chair of the biomedical engineering department, spoke from an academic perspective.
“This year is unique; we wanted to include the environmental sector,” Jeff Rudnik ’08, a co-chair of BioExpo, said he acknowledged that the environmental engineering field has not received enough attention on campus lately. “[Our] professors are a lot more excited,” he said.
“We all joined this organization to help our fellow peers,” said Christina Lee ’08 co-president of BioExpo.
During the awards ceremony, Andrew Adam Davis ’09 received IBE’s Honorable Mention and was honored with recognition for the Best Research in Medical Devices and Technologies by BD.
Davis shared his philosophy with other undergraduates: “Get involved early and understand that the faculty here is world-renowned. They want to see young undergraduates get involved in research.”
IBE’s future plans are to host a Bio-Expo that involves more colleges, and to create a Biotech Advisory Council, which would serve as a means for publicizing Cornell’s BEE program.