Students run biomedical engineering conference

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Tanner Ravsten, engineering student that organized the conference, addresses the attendants of the conference (Gianluca Cuestas).
Tanner Ravsten organized the first biomedical conference of its kind in the western United States (Gianluca Cuestas).

BYU hosted a regional biomedical conference on Jan. 19 and 20. This conference had representatives from 11 other schools across five different states who were able to learn from each other and view research from other fields.

The conference is the first of its kind on the West Coast and was completely student-organized, according to BYU biomedical engineering student Tanner Ravsten.

Ravsten and a team of fewer than 30 students created this event in order to share ideas to help open the possibilities of what can be done in the bioengineering field.

There were over 50 presentations made during the conference and about half of them were made by BYU representatives.

Attendants mentioned that one of the conference highlights was the keynote from University of Washington Professor Buddy Ratner. Ratner spoke about the historical perspective of the last several hundred years of bioengineering, starting from Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man to modern times.

Oregon State University Professor Karl Schilke was very impressed by the conference. He said the student organized event was “fantastic”, and many future employers will see it as “an eye opener.”

Schilke also enjoyed learning about the possibilities of collaborations.

“It has been fun talking to the students about their posters and seeing what other people have been working on and coming up with collaborations,” Schilke said.

Anton Bowden, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at BYU and the program chair, was also very impressed with the work of the students involved.

“The students have been fantastic. The students have really done it all,” Bowden said. “All the credit goes to Tanner and the group he has been working with and the biomedical engineering society chapter at BYU that has been really supportive.”

Both Ravsten and Bowden have high hopes for the conference moving forward.

“I would like to see this conference strengthen and rotate to some different universities as well. I would like to see this becoming the annual event in the West where students get to go participate, get to know other students, network with faculty and get to know their discipline,” Bowden said.

Ravsten hopes that this event will inspire others in the field of bioengineering.

“The future of human health is in our hands,” Ravsten said. “I hope that all the people in the more neglected areas of bioengineering can see this and come forward and be involved in the community.”

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