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New study programme focuses on healthcare technology materials

New study programme focuses on healthcare technology materials

From autumn 2019, DTU offers a new MSc programme in advanced materials and healthcare engineering.

By Marianne Vang Ryde

The healthcare sector is developing at a frantic pace, making ever new demands on medicine and technology. There is a need, for example, for new systems that can produce faster and more precise diagnoses, high-precision drug transporters with fewer side-effects, and better materials for new medical products.

All this has long been a focus area for a number of researchers at DTU, and now we are pooling their expertise in a new Master’s degree programme—MSc in Advanced Materials and Healthcare Engineering.

The study programme will be very product-oriented, and make a point of ensuring that students are given an overview of the entire process from idea to finished product. Candidates therefore need an innovative streak, a good grasp of chemistry, and they also need to know enough about molecular and cellular biology to assess what is required to ensure the technology functions with the human body.

“Parts of the study programme are based on the so-called CDIO principle: Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate,” says Associate Professor Martin Dufva, head of studies for the new MSc programme.

“We will equip the students to work in industry and create new healthcare products. Therefore, in addition solid theoretical knowledge, they also need to be able to engage in practical laboratory tasks, as the experimental courses are a very important part of the programme.”

“For instance, you must be able to develop a nanoparticle, so it is suitable as a drug transporter, or create a biosensor that can measure a particular substance in the blood, or design a material that will not interfere with the body’s cells. The students must be able to think up ideas themselves for such new technologies, and be capable of implementing them in real life.”

First programme of its kind in Denmark

Demand for the new study programme is being seen from both students and employers in industry, and the head of studies has even received several enquiries from abroad. It is the only one of its kind in Denmark, and there are very few similar courses being taught at foreign universities.

Applicants will typically have a background in chemistry, but they also need to know about molecular and cellular biology. They must be able to understand what is happening with the products when they enter the body, and work out how they will interact. And in order to evaluate the effects, they also need to know about statistics.

“With this programme, we are pursuing new avenues across the traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology. Students must be able to understand everything from advanced processes to designing and handling a pipette in the laboratory. Moreover, they must be able to demonstrate that their products actually function together with the human body,” says Martin Dufva.

The new programme is basically oriented at medical devices, its starting point being the cross-field between chemistry and technology. Academically, this complements the MSc in Biomedical Engineering, which has a strong physics and electronics profile, and the drug-focused MSc in Pharmaceutical Design and Engineering with its pharmaceutical profile. Together, these study programmes supply graduates to different businesses working with healthcare technologies.

source: Technical University of Denmark

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