Grand Challenges in Interfacing Engineering with Life Sciences and Medicine
He, B.; Baird, R.; Butera, R.; Datta, A.; George, S.; Hecht, B.; Hero, A.; Lazzi, G.; Lee, R.C.; Liang, J.; Neuman, M.; Peng, G.C.Y.; Perreault, E.J.; Ramasubramanian, M.; Wang, M.D.; Wikswo, J.; Yang, G.-Z.; Zhang, Y.-T
Volume: 60, Issue: 3, Page(s): 589 – 598 (Full Article)
This article summarizes the discussions held during the first IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference held on October 4-5, 2012 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, and the grand challenges identified by the conference participants. Despite tremendous efforts to develop the knowledge and ability that are essential to addressing biomedical problems using engineering methodologies, successfully integrating engineering into the life sciences and healthcare remains a grand challenge. The conference featured high-level discussions by participants representing various sectors, including academia, government, and industry. Grand challenges were identified by the conference participants in five areas: 1) engineering the brain and nervous system, 2) engineering the cardiovascular system, 3) engineering of cancer diagnostics, therapeutics, and prevention, 4) translating discoveries to clinical applications, and 5) fostering interdisciplinary education and training for the next generation of biomedical engineering researchers.
The conference included three keynote lectures highlighting the need for integrating engineering with the life sciences and medicine. Nobel laureate Dr. Phillip Sharp articulated the view that a “third revolution” in the life sciences—following the DNA and genomics revolutions—would be brought about only through interdisciplinary collaboration with engineering, physical, and computational sciences. Dr. Charles Vest, President of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, focused on the role of technological innovation in meeting global needs. Dr. Vest stressed that even while making these changes, we have to ensure that “basic” and “use-inspired basic” research remains strong because these stand the test of time. Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the NIH, highlighted the considerable progress NIBIB has made in advancing medicine and healthcare using engineering approaches, as well as the need to integrate expertise across numerous disciplines in order to address the current and emerging challenges in healthcare and biomedical innovation.
Read the article for a detailed summary of the grand challenges identified in these critical areas as we continue engineering the future of life sciences and medicine.