Before the first architectural plans were drawn, before dignitaries gathered to break ground, the Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex (BMEC) was conceived with its users in mind.
Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and support staff were consulted for their feedback: How can modern classrooms empower students through experiential learning? How can building design lead to discovery and innovation—with potential for commercialization of intellectual property and translation to clinical applications supported at every turn?
The result was a paradigm-shifting facility that promotes 21st century teaching and learning, unmatched in its capacity for interdisciplinary teaching, research and collaboration.
Phase One of the Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex—Mars G. Fontana Laboratories—opened in 2020 and transformed spaces where students, faculty and partners learn and innovate. Beyond the natural collaborations between the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, the close proximity to other campus collaborators has already led to life-changing discoveries through COVID-19 research, manufacturing innovation, laser therapies for cancer and biomaterials advances that improve our daily lives.
Phase Two of BMEC has been designed and is scheduled to open in Fall 2025. Faculty and staff are applying lessons learned through the study funded by the National Science Foundation to teach engineering in the future, to enhance the final segment of the largest capital project in the college’s history.
Notable Features Include:
- Undergraduate learning spaces designed with support of a National Science Foundation grant to create the teaching laboratory of the future.
- University pooled classrooms and multiple 150-plus seat auditoriums that put education on display, showcasing the complex as a university-wide destination for innovative learning.
- Core lab facilities highlighting biosensors, bio fabrication and materials in motion.
- State-of-the-art, globally leading technology in undergraduate and graduate student computer labs and an electronic instrumentation lab.
- Research neighborhoods dedicated to Cancer Engineering, Corrosion Engineering, Biomaterials, Cardiopulmonary Engineering, Precision Medicine, Ocular Engineering, Functional Materials and Ceramic Engineering.
- Collaborative and huddle spaces shared by undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, including an intentionally designed center for collaboration and creativity.
- Faculty and professor of practice “hoteling” offices, providing spaces for connection and discovery with industry sponsored research partners.
- Wide-open floor plates with moveable walls and modular equipment, so that over time, space can be reconfigured to address evolving needs in research and education.
- Private spaces where industry partners can present new products to faculty and students, exchange intellectual property ideas and more.
- Provides facilities for the College of Engineering to expand K-12 outreach offerings through the community.
- Enables faculty and students to utilized a brand new maker space for innovation, idealization and prototyping, encouraging entrepreneurial discovery.