A quick walk through any hospital or biomedical research center clearly shows how interconnected medicine and engineering have become in the last couple of decades. Drug delivery systems (such as implantable, self-regulating insulin pumps), artificial implants (composed of new-age alloys and plastics), and imaging systems (for mapping blood flow and monitoring cell growth) all rely on the marriage of biomedicine and engineering. But the marriage of these two broad fields isn't always blissful.

"Engineers don't know biochemistry, and biochemists don't know engineering," says Lee Huntsman, director of the Center for Bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. But, he notes, bioengineering has become an "attractive discipline" for incoming graduate students with engineering backgrounds. In the past, he says, people with degrees in chemical engineering, biochemistry, and even electrical engineering have migrated into the field of biomedical engineering.

All those scientists and engineers flocking to biomedical engineering will be happy...

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