With over 200 medical device companies within twenty miles and three top-tier hospitals within walking distance, the Stanford campus provides a unique setting for medical innovation. Many faculty and students working are in biomechanical engineering, and developing a combination of strong mechanical skills with a working understanding of biological and/or medical systems and processes. Investigations range from exploring how proteins fold and interact to designing the next generation of medical equipment and joint replacements. Biomechanical Engineering research encompasses not only fundamental scientific questions but also the endeavors which will bring discoveries to hospitals, clinics, and society as a whole to improve general health, well-being, and quality of life.
Biomechanical Engineering is central to the department's efforts in exploring the mechanics-biomedicine interface and developing innovative solutions for this rapidly growing area. In addition, many students working in all of the mechanical engineering groups (Design, Thermosciences, Flow Physics and Computation, and Mechanics and Computation) have substantial research efforts in the area of biological systems.
Mathematical and computational models are required to understand the extreme complexity of living systems. Creating models with sufficient complexity to replicate these systems is a difficult challenge but can provide insight into problems which would otherwise not be possible. New computational methods and programs are often required to model and simulate these systems. The department features a broad variety of computational research dedicated to biological systems, ranging from the study of molecular and DNA transport to simulations of bloodflow in organs and the mechanics of joints and body mechanics.
Research projects and coursework within Biomechanical Engineering aid in the effort to create the next generation of medical devices, often partnering with local medical device companies. Taking ideas from concept to clinical device is critical for continuing to improve health care and patient quality of life.
The success of biomedical pursuits depends upon close collaboration and cooperation between a broad team of physicians, engineers, scientists and therapists. Only through tight teamwork can the complex systems be explored and understood. Biomechanical Engineering plays a key role in extending an open hand to all of these communities and an open environment for collaboration to occur. Engineers with expertise in biology, mechanics, computation, and the design process are protagonists in many local corporations and hospitals. The ongoing interaction with these corporations is a key strength of Biomechanical Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering Department as a whole.