September 06, 2012

Brains Behind Biomed

Shankar Krishnan, Ph.D.

Wentworth’s Shankar Krishnan steers the popular biomedical engineering program toward success

Healthcare needs, says the founder of Wentworth’s biomedical engineering program and current department chair Shankar Krishnan, are skyrocketing. The population is aging and their expectations for comfort are growing, along with healthcare costs. That’s where biomedical engineers come in: they need to develop better and more affordable solutions.

Krishnan knows this after a global career in the industry, which has included launching two other university biomedical engineering programs. He founded the biomedical instrumentation program at Southern Illinois University, and next headed to one of the world’s largest electrical and electronic engineering schools, the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. There, he was the founding head of the bioengineering division in the College of Engineering, as well as the founding director of the Biomedical Engineering Research Center.

Krishnan was serving as the assistant director of the department of biomedical engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital when he became a member of Wentworth’s Industrial Professional Advisory Committee (IPAC) in 2007. When Wentworth asked him to launch the biomedical engineering program, Krishnan was thrilled. “I agreed with the mission to develop one of the top programs in the region,” said Krishnan, who was recently elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

As Wentworth’s biomedical engineering program enters its second year, the 130 students enrolled in the program will begin classes in the new Center for Sciences and Biomedical Engineering in Ira Allen. The program will have three dedicated labs, and students will also take courses in other programs. “The beauty is a person trained in biomedical engineering can work in the recession-proof health care field and additionally in several other engineering fields because biomedical engineering is interdisciplinary,” Krishnan said.

Graduates will join the development efforts in the medical devices manufacturing industry to build artificial knees, heart valves, intelligent cardiac monitors for telemedicine and home health care, and work with the state-of-the-art complex medical systems in hospitals, Krishnan said, among other career possibilities, including graduate studies. Although the career options are vast, Krishnan says the goal of the program is focused on training in medical devices and clinical engineering.

“I have one phrase,” Krishnan said, “Better life. That’s what we’re working toward.”

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