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Where do Researchers get the knowledge to do what they do?

  1. Aug 12, 2010 #1
    I have looked at the faculty of many Biomedical Engineering programs, and I have noticed that there are many professors that do research in like, Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering, Biomechanics.. stuff like that.. But they have degrees in things like Biophysics and physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, and even Aerospace Engineering. Most of them are just plain old physics Ph.D's.. Very few actually have Ph.D's in Biomedical Engineering. I know that the equations you learn in the Engineering and Phyiscs are different for medical applications than what is initially learned.. How do they get the knowledge to apply what they know to Biomedicine? For example.. Tissue Engineering.. How does a physicist know what to apply and how to apply it to Tissue Engineering? Do they take courses in it, or do they have to figure it all out themselves? Many biophysics programs have no classes that actually teach Biomaterials Science, or Biomechanics, or electrophysiology.. Biomedical Engineering programs do.. so what do the researchers do? Major in physics and minor in the engineering and take courses in the bioengineering? I am in a Biophysics program, and it says that it prepares the student for a career in biomedical engineering, yet it offers very little courses that can actually be used to advance into graduate biomedical engineering courses. How does this work? When you take classes, do you usually learn what the professors are researching?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2010 #2
    Well I would have thought there is a set curriculum which you learn that gives you the basic knowledge you need to advance yourself further in that feild.

    As for a research post you would need further education i.e. masters or phd on the area you wish to research often many who do their masters disertations have to do a research project I can only tell you from a nuring aspect to be honest, that when you do a masters there you are expected to get ethical approval to conduct a research project in your choosen feild of intrest.

    hope my post helps a bit sorry if it doesn't
  4. Aug 12, 2010 #3


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    It can come from different sources.

    Often, when doing interdisciplinary work, one begins by collaborating with others that have an expertise in areas of weakness. It also comes from reading a lot.

    Alos, when you know how to solve a particular problem in one field, a similar approach can be used to solve a different problem in a different field.
  5. Aug 12, 2010 #4
    You teach yourself, and pick things up as you go along. If you see a physics PhD hired for a biomedical engineering position then it's extremely likely that their expertise is of some use in bioengineering. That's why they're of initial value to the department. Other than that, it's always possible to collaborate with people that do know about certain things - and you'll learn bits and pieces when you're writing papers together. You can then use that knowledge in future projects, when you're collaborating with others who can teach you about a further different area.

    Any field of research is a real learning process: learning for the rest of your career, even if you stick to the 'one subject'.
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