Hosted by the CU Chapter of Biomedical Engineering Society

It’s great to have all of you – our present and future biomedical engineers on campus today. I want to extend an especially warm welcome to the students who are here today – both high school and college students. It’s great to have you on campus. I think you’re in for an exciting day.

It’s also a pleasure to have the Biomedical Engineering Society with us on campus today and president Gilda Barabino who is with us.

Great thanks to the CU Chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society for hosting this conference.

I want to thank Ben Noe president of the CU Chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Ben wears several hats. He’s chair of this conference and he leads the industry sub-committee for the national Biomedical Engineering Society.

In this era in which organs can be manufactured on 3-D printers there is no limit to our potential for biomedical technology advances.

The university environment with its interdisciplinary research, its constant quest for discovery, its spirit of innovation, its public and private sponsored research, and it’s industry partnerships – is a major player in medical technology advances.

Industry-university research partnerships have resulted in the MRI and the laser. If it were not for these partnerships we wouldn’t know how tumors live and die. We’d still be treating cancer and cardiovascular disease in archaic ways that shortened people’s lives.

Increasingly, private industry has closed labs for cost savings, putting basic research into the capable-and-proven hands of the university. Bell Labs and Eastman Kodak are two prime examples of research labs that have closed. Research universities are filling the void.

A university’s breadth of research runs the spectrum from basic research to commercialization. In fact, we’ve become pretty good at it. CU-Boulder research in everything from bioscience, to clean energy, technology, and aerospace has spawned 50 companies since 1999, more than half in the last five years. Forty-three of these companies are still operating. 

Many don’t realize that more than half of all U.S. output is generated by just 25 universities. And CU is one of them. 

That brings us to our new BioFrontiers Institute, just about a mile east of here on our East Campus research complex.

BioFrontiers is an innovative idea led by Nobel laureate Tom Cech that brings together some of the world’s finest life and physical scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computational scientists under one roof for what Dr. Cech calls productive collisions.

In organic chemistry collisions of molecules at the right orientation and velocity produce a chemical reaction. Likewise, if researchers collide it produces productive innovations that wouldn’t happen if they were squirreled away in their silos. This is the embodiment of the next-generation research university.

The results have been revolutionary advances in cartilage and tissue regeneration; genetics; treatments for cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease and chronic pain; and vaccine delivery, just to name a few. These dynamic collaborations have resulted in 19 bioscience start-up companies in the last five years based on CU-Boulder research.

BioFrontiers moved into its new state-of-the-art facilities just last spring. One of its stated goals is to work in partnership with biomedical companies in private research contacts to bring research into alliance with industry so it’s more quickly and readily applied for economic and humanitarian impact. 

Your work here today is important and we’re glad that you’re here. 

Thank you for coming.