In the new engineering course Biomedical Engineering, which will be starting with its bachelor programme at Ulm University in the 2023/24 winter semester, students will be learning how to personalise medicine, develop technologies for patients, digitalise healthcare and invent new methods for diagnostics and rehabilitation.
The role of technology in medicine is becoming increasingly important. In Germany, people continue to become older, personalised medicine is gaining importance and other new challenges such as the covid-19 pandemic keep appearing. “Digitalisation, automation and a higher level of mechanisation are inevitable in medicine”, Professor Walter Karlen, director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Ulm University, is convinced. The course, which doesn’t restrict admission, is designed to prepare young people to meet these demands within a standard study period of six semesters. “The course, as well as the profession, is exceptionally demanding, diverse and varied, due to the interdisciplinary interaction between the fields of engineering, natural sciences, computer science and life sciences”, Karlen says of the course, which combines engineering and medicine and is offered in this format nowhere else in Baden-Württemberg. The course teaches students the basics of engineering, human medicine, physics, computer science and mathematics. More in-depth knowledge and skills can also be acquired in specialisation courses in the areas of medicine, medical technology, electrical engineering and communications technology and biophysics. A maths training camp is being offered in September, before the course begins, for any students who wish to refresh or improve their knowledge. Voluntary tutorials will also be offered throughout the course to support students.
Shared lectures with medical students
Engineers in the field of biomedical engineering conduct research on improved medical products and develop new methods in the areas of prevention, diagnostics or therapy – including, for instance, intelligent implants that can be used in cancer treatment or medical wearables to be used for either sleep simulation or the early detection of arrythmia. Karlen emphasises how important good communication skills are in this area: “First, you have to understand what healthcare professionals and patients need, and then you can develop the appropriate technology”. A major advantage of the course, according to Karlen, is the close proximity to the University Medical Centre. “Students in this programme learn interaction from day one, and shared lectures with medical students play a role in that”. At no other university campus in Baden-Württemberg are the departments of medicine and engineering situated as closely together as they are in Ulm.
What about the job prospects following graduation? Graduates can work in research and development at medical technology companies, with their suppliers or at public institutions such as public health administrations. Medical engineering is also currently “very trendy” at start-up companies, Professor Karlen points out.
Text and mediacontact: Christine Liebhardt
Translation: Kate Gaugler