A Major to Connect Two Worlds

NYU Abu Dhabi’s latest major looks to educate students to be as comfortable handling cells as they are coding a circuit.

NYU Abu Dhabi’s newest major, the bioengineering program, looks to educate a future-proof cohort of students capable of advancing  one of the most promising and exciting frontiers in biomedical areas.

Undergraduate students of the interdisciplinary bioengineering major will learn how to apply engineering principles to the fields of biology and medical science. The program will equip students with the ability to create solutions to large-scale problems at the molecular and cellular level, such as the development of prosthetic and medical devices.

“We want to educate students to the point that they feel comfortable in both areas: culturing cells, growing cells, as well as well as coding an app and programming circuits. We want our students to be those who can wear a gown and go into a lab as well as build and work with instrumentation,” said the bioengineering program head and associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering Rafael Song.

Bioengineering breakthroughs since it began as a field around the turn of the twentieth century include the x-ray machine and the prosthetic limb. Some of the discipline’s most recent technological advancements, CRISPR genome editing and nanotechnology, promise to change the way we approach the life-long challenge of curing diseases.

Song says that the field of bioengineering crosses traditional boundaries between engineering and biology. The program, he says, will strongly support the mission of NYUAD of pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge and solving vital global and local challenges related to human health.

“It’s going to be challenging. It’s difficult enough to become knowledgeable in one field let alone mastering both. But we have great students, and I have no doubt they will be able to tackle this major,” he said.

As part of the Engineering Division, the new degree program will provide students with an ability to use a wide range of practices from the engineering field, including mechanical, chemical, computer, and electrical engineering. The program will require that students take both engineering and science classes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the new major.

The offering of this new major highlights NYUAD’s commitment and contribution to the achievement of the UAE’s national objectives, which places the development of the healthcare sector as a key policy priority.

“The field of Bioengineering is a major driver for improving health by faster disease diagnosis and more effective treatment. The UAE has rightly included it as a priority in its National Innovation Strategy. By launching our new major in Bioengineering this year, coinciding with NYUAD's tenth anniversary, we are demonstrating the University's continued contribution to this strategy through both education and research,” NYUAD dean of Engineering Samer Madanat said.

NYUAD offers 25 undergraduate majors across the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, and Engineering, with a wide range of multidisciplinary minors and specializations. Within the Engineering division, the University offers five other majors: Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, General Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.