Beginning with construction in spring 2021, updates to the Donald V. Fites Engineering and Innovation Center will provide Valpo’s bioengineering students with a dedicated lab. This lab will be possible thanks to the generosity of James Guilbeau ’60. His vision is to provide bioengineering students with a state-of-the-art facility for educational laboratory experiences.

Having a dedicated space will allow students to learn about a variety of bioengineering technologies within the confines of the engineering building, rather than its temporary location in Neils Science Center.

“Bioengineering students will have a place to call their own in Fites, where they can really delve into the different paths offered by the three tracks in bioengineering: biomechanical, bioelectrical, or biomedical,” says Craig Goehler, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and bioengineering. “Our hope is that with a dedicated bioengineering space, students will feel a greater sense of belonging within the College of Engineering, similar to how students in our longer-established majors currently feel.”

The James Guilbeau Bioengineering Laboratory will house equipment used to collect human movement data through motion capture, pressure maps, EMG/ECG/EEG sensors, and related technology. In addition to human movement, students will be able to study biomaterial properties of different specimens using a specialized material testing station. A variety of software programs used for creating simulations and analyzing the collected data will also be available for use on the computers in the space.

In the future, bioengineering offerings will be aimed at augmenting courses, the laboratory, and research projects in the area of human-machine interfaces. This would include haptics, exoskeletal devices, prosthetic devices, and more innovative technologies as they progress.

Scheduled to complete construction by October 2021, the laboratory space will be ready for use in BE320: Bioengineering Technologies Laboratory when it is offered in the spring 2022 semester.

The bachelor of science in bioengineering degree was launched in fall 2017. The major builds on various faculty and student research projects and ongoing student interest. The major has more than 40 students and continues to grow. Students are provided with a strong foundation in engineering and design principles, on which they rely to solve a diverse range of problems in biology and medicine. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to pursue graduate school, medical school, or industrial jobs in one of the many bioengineering disciplines.