Summer Biodesign Immersion Experience

2016 group

2016 BIE students

UC Berkeley Bioengineering’s
Summer Biodesign Immersion Experience

capstone device

What:  UC Berkeley BioE’s NIH-sponsored summer program using clinical immersion to identify areas where BioE innovation is needed. Summer payroll is provided for the 8-week program which includes intensive needs-finding training and clinical immersion, guest speakers from industry & non-profits, hands-on development & use of biomedical technology, and both oral and written technical communication.

Who: Current UC Berkeley Bioengineering Juniors and Seniors with preference given to individuals who either will be enrolled in BioE 192 or who have just completed BioE 192.

Why:  To define clinical gaps where bioengineering can make a difference! You will embed in clinical specialties and observe clinical activities, acquire the communication skills necessary to interact with clinicians, and identify unmet needs that will subsequently be addressed in biomedical design projects in BioE 192.

When:  May 30 – July 21, 2017

Where:  UC Berkeley with frequent local travel to UCSF and other Bay Area clinical centers (transportation costs covered by the program).

How:  Apply online here
Applications Due February 6
Note – UC Berkeley students only.

Selections will be made by mid-March.

Check out the BIE blog on Medium


  • UC Berkeley Bioengineering major Juniors and Seniors only
  • Eight weeks
  • Full time, 40 hrs per week, Monday – Friday , on the UC Berkeley campus
  • Proteges will receive $3,400 for the 8 weeks, and Fellows will receive $3,800 for the 8 weeks
  • Housing is not provided
  • No other UC work or position allowed during the Biodesign 8 week program

2016 program events
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2014 program events

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2012 program events

Biodesign deviceWhy offer the Berkeley Biodesign Immersion Experience?

UC Berkeley’s Department of Bioengineering (BioE) has identified a compelling societal need to educate the next cadre of Berkeley’s bioengineers in the challenging area of medical technology. Owing to recent course and program development, the timing is right for a substantial and scalable positive training impact on UC Berkeley’s graduating bioengineers and, more broadly, the US.

The UC Berkeley Summer Biodesign Immersion Experience will enhance and significantly extend an existing core Senior Bioengineering Design (Capstone) course and engage our students in ‘clinical immersion’ and early Innovation needs finding.

This summer program aims to train our undergraduates to understand, engage in, and lead medical technology innovation by:

  1. Challenging our students to identify and define biomedical problems to achieve meaningful bioengineering solutions,
  2. Introducing engineering design approaches using open-ended biomedical problems, while fostering an environment in which interdisciplinary and team-based innovation are promoted & encouraged,
  3. Providing a protected training period during which our students innovate around open biomedical problems through invention, prototyping, and testing of new technologies, diagnostics, and therapies which meet a true clinical need in consultation with clinical and business leaders (During the Capstone Fall course).

Bioengineers build bridges – cross-disciplinary training prepares bioengineers to bridge engineering innovation and unmet clinical needs.  This summer experience seeks to uniquely and unequivocally equip our graduates to succeed and lead in engineering innovation.

What can you expect from the Berkeley Biodesign Immersion Experience?

biodesign device 3Given here is tentative program for the summer to give applicants and idea of technical and experiential content from the 8-week experience.

  1. Needs finding training
    1. Overview of needs finding – What is it?  Why is this important to bioengineers?  What are best practices & approaches?
    2. Needs finding in industry – Industry design perspective (either campus visit or summer experience field trip).
    3. Innovation Analysis – How does a medical market analysis and disease pathology & treatment analysis point to innovation ‘gaps’?  Where can our innovation best impact society?
    4. Speeding Innovation project – Put your needs finding skills to the test in the biomedical innovation arena!
  2. Hands-on experience with biomedical technology – these short duration workshops will be interspersed throughout the summer.  What are important biomedical sensing modalities?  How do you construct, test, calibrate, and use sensors?  What types of sensor are available?  Under development?
  3. Site & Clinical Visits
    1. Pre-visit research & analysis – What are the disease pathology, treatment, shortcomings, and recent innovation for your upcoming clinical immersion? Are there areas under debate? Neglected? Entrenched? What is the standard of care and why?
    2. Visits – the core of the summer program – You will team in small groups for visits to our partner medical centers. These visits will include both an observation portion (shadowing) and interview/discussion portion that will allow you to gain insight into the identified needs. Interviewees may include physicians, medical students, nurses, patients, device developers, regulatory officers, etc.
  4. Innovation gap database – Documenting & prioritizing the observations and needs identified in the Clinical Immersion.  You will archive observations, formal needs statements, and the potential impact of addressing the team-identified top needs.  A program-wide discussion of gaps will likely take place with some emphasis placed on intellectual property concepts.
  5. Final deliverables (1 – 2 weeks) – You will create and present a final presentation that summarizes each of your clinical rotations.  Specific attention will be paid to the needs finding process, identified unmet needs, key stakeholders, and required (initial) performance specifications for technology to successfully address the needs.  Comments on potential impact and reflection on the early stage needs finding process.


scrubbed studentsWhat can you get out of the Berkeley Biodesign Immersion Experience?

You will engage full-time in identifying needed bioengineering innovation in clinical environments by becoming familiar with the language, issues, and problems that can benefit from an engineering approach. Some specific learning objectives for this 8-week program include:

  1. Identifying unmet needs in a functioning clinical environment through clinical immersion periods (Needs finding).
  2. Professional development including interaction with professionals during the initial needs finding training, contact with clinicians and enhanced technical communication skills (written & oral).
  3. Basics of conducting a business/market analysis and exposure to intellectual property concepts.
  4. Fundamental technologies used in state-of-the-art biomedical sensors.

The overarching objective of the program is to afford you an opportunity to observe clinical activities, acquire communication skills necessary to interact with clinicians, and identify unmet needs that can subsequently be addressed by you or your peers in biomedical design projects (BioE 192).

Check out the BIE blog on Medium

Contact Us:

Professor Amy Herr
Administrative Assistant Catherine Dea

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