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Biotechnology Conference to Focus on Upstate Opportunities

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Engineers, students and scientists will gather in Rochester next week to discuss local opportunities in areas where engineering and medicine intersect, as well as to learn about ongoing research in the Rochester area.

The event organized by the Rochester Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, in Goergen Hall on the University of Rochester River Campus. The event, titled “Bridging gaps between education and employment in the biotechnology sector of upstate New York,” is free and open to anyone with an interest in engineering and medicine, including high school and college students with an interest in the area.

Engineering and medicine intersect in many important ways, notes Greg Gdowski, Ph.D., who helped organize the session and is head of the society’s Rochester chapter. The work of engineers is found throughout medicine, in the equipment that keeps patients alive, to the fabrication methods of crucial medicines, to imaging and other testing that helps detect or prevent disease.

“There are more than 100 companies in the Rochester area alone that focus or touch upon biotechnology,” said Gdowski, who is an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “We want to make sure that students in this community are aware of the opportunities here in the Rochester area. There are a lot of companies who need students with engineering skills, who are interested in the application of their skills to human health.”

Speakers include Diana Jensen-Dooling, New York State director of Project Lead the Way, a non-profit organization that promotes pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students. Also speaking is Heather Erickson, president of MedTech, a non-profit biosciences trade association representing hundreds of companies in upstate New York. She will discuss employment opportunities in health care technology in the region.

The session will include poster presentations by researchers at the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and several upstate biomedical companies. Among the topics will be the use of ultrafast lasers to see inside the body, new methods to grow skin and bone for healing, development of new ways to predict how brain tumors spread, and methods to gauge the growth of lung tumors more accurately.

The event is sponsored by the Rochester chapter of the Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the University’s student branch of IEEE, and the University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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