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Research Training Of Undergraduates Through Biomems Senior Design Projects

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Design in the ECE Curriculum

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1042.1 - 13.1042.11



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Paper Authors


Jin-Hwan Lee University of Cincinnati

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Jin-Hwan Lee earned his M.S. and B.S in Material Science Engineering at the Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He was awarded the Rindsberg Fellowship in 2005 and again in 2006, and has participated in the Preparing Future Faculty program. His research interests include biosensors and microfluidic biochips for environmental and medical applications.

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Ali Asgar Bhagat University of Cincinnati

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Ali Asgar S. Bhagat earned his M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2006, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests include microfluidics and MEMS devices for chemical and biological assays. He was the teaching assistant for the microfluidics laboratory course discussed in this paper.

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Karen Davis University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Karen C. Davis is an Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. She has advised over 30 senior design students and more than 20 MS/PhD theses in the area of database systems. She has been the recipient of several departmental and college teaching awards, including the Master of Engineering Education Award, the Dean’s Award for Innovation in Engineering Education, and the Wandamacher Teaching Award for Young Faculty. She is a Senior member of IEEE and an ABET Computer Engineering program evaluator. Dr. Davis received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Loyola University, New Orleans in 1985 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

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Ian Papautsky University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Ian Papautsky earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Utah in 1999. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor of in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. His research and teaching interests include application of microfluidics and nanotechnology to biology and medicine.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Research Training of Undergraduates through BioMEMS Senior Design Projects


Bio Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (BioMEMS) is a multidisciplinary research field that closely integrates engineering with physics, chemistry, and biology. This emerging technology has an innovative effect on many areas of science and engineering. Research in BioMEMS generally occurs at the graduate level, due to its multidisciplinary nature. At the University of Cincinnati we have developed a number of courses in order to introduce graduate students to this topic. However, little focus has been given to the undergraduate experience. To address this concern, graduate students along with their faculty advisor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department have been using the required senior project to teach research methods in order to give undergraduate students a chance to experience BioMEMS-related research. This paper will discuss some of the research-oriented senior projects in the BioMEMS field as examples. A unique aspect of these projects is the focus on extended problem-based real-world learning examples.

The senior design project gives students a unique opportunity to undertake a research project similar to that which would be expected in a Masters level program. This allows preparing to be more successful as they move onto graduate research studies. Throughout the year, students submit periodic progress reports and give presentations summarizing their research efforts, current problems, and future directions, providing an opportunity for real-time feedback and tailored guidance leading to more successful project outcomes. The undergraduate students who worked on the projects not only completed their research project goals, but also submitted abstracts of their work to international research conferences, and two students extended their research as NSF Research Experience Undergraduate (REU) students through the summer term prior to continuing on to graduate school. The success of these research-oriented senior design projects is encouraging and we propose extending this opportunity to motivate students enrolled in related programs such as biology, chemistry, and other engineering disciplines.

I. Introduction

Micromachining or Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technologies are considered an enabling technology that has a revolutionary impact on many areas of science and engineering.1 MEMS technologies are now being applied to health monitoring, diagnostics and therapeutic applications, which are frequently referred to as Biomedical Microsystems (BioMEMS). BioMEMS research includes biological, biomedical, biochemical, and pharmaceutical analysis and synthesis using MEMS-based microsensors and microsystems.

While the BioMEMS technologies have dramatically altered biomedical, pharmaceutical, and environmental research, they are yet to be successfully transferred to the undergraduate curriculum. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of BioMEMS and the background needed to conduct research, BioMEMS courses have traditionally been offered at the graduate level only

Lee, J., & Bhagat, A. A., & Davis, K., & Papautsky, I. (2008, June), Research Training Of Undergraduates Through Biomems Senior Design Projects Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3739

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