The Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah, established in 1974, is an internationally renowned center of interdisciplinary basic and applied medically related research. It has a rich history in artificial organs including the heart-lung machine, the intra-aortic balloon pump heart assist device, the artificial eye, the artificial heart and the dialysis machine, the first of which was engineered out of sausage casing and part of a Ford automobile water pump during WWII by Willem Kolff. Additionally, the department has a history of developments in biomaterials, drug delivery and entrepreneurial activity. Current research activities of the department include biobased engineering, biosensors, medical imaging, biomaterials, biomechanics, computation/modeling, drug/gene delivery, neural interfaces, computational bioengineering, tissue engineering and other specialty areas.
Among these strong areas of research, five current initiatives are particularly noteworthy: