Explainer: What sets biomedical engineers apart

Olivia Miller
Picture by Unsplash

Dr Viktorija Makarovaite, Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at the University’s School of Engineering, explains how the biomedical engineering field is developing and why there is no better time to pursue a degree in the subject. She said:

‘The biomedical engineering field has grown over the last decade which is due to the expected growth of medical devices sector as baby-boomers and generation X get older and live longer. That is why it is being recognised as an area of growth along with mechanical engineering. However, what sets biomedical engineers apart is that you are then qualified to work in most bioscience or engineering fields unlike a strict biologist or engineer.

‘Medical technology, sensors, and devices are where a lot of research funding currently can be found and to even be qualified to apply, a multi-disciplinary team is required. That is your advantage in research through a degree in Biomedical Engineering as you are from the start multi-disciplinary. In non-research capacity, you could be known as a clinical engineer, medical engineer, bioengineer, design engineer and devices engineer (the common titles on job applications but not limited to these).

‘Through a Biomedical Engineering degree you could expect to be trained in most electronic engineering skills such as 3D modelling, CAD, programming as well as other medical skills (human diseases, biomaterials, biomechanics, medical physics). This will allow you to become a chartered engineer. If you wanted to pursue your education further, then you are qualified to do almost any master’s degree in biology and engineering.

At Kent, we’ve had students continue onto master’s programmes such as computer science, nanotechnologies, robotics etc. This is because you not only learn the basic engineering and medical skills but also medical ethics, device design, product development and safety, individualised medicine, and patient care. These are part of the core curriculum throughout all three years of the programme (four with a year in industry) which allow you to continue onto a wide range of jobs and show that you can learn a variety of difficult skills.’

Dr Viktorija Makarovaite is a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at the School of Engineering. She is currently part of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) multi-disciplinary team on voice prosthesis management. This work led to the development of a clinical pathway for voice prosthesis management currently implemented by the NHS. Presently, she works closely with NHS personnel and the medical industry on various research topics with a goal to improve patient care. Most of this work involves on-body applications and she specialises in on-body sensor designs and working with lossy environments.

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