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Message from the Chair

Thank you for considering the pursuit of your studies with us in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at the University of Kentucky (UK). Here you will have the opportunity to transform your life like nowhere else by leveraging your interests and passions toward developing a satisfying, productive, and gainful career.

We know what you want in an education and we can provide it! As Tom Friedman tells in his 2017 book “Thank you for being late,” a recent Gallup poll found no difference in long-term career outcomes with respect to the type of institution attended, but how you got your education mattered most. “Successful students had one or more teachers who were mentors and took a real interest in their aspirations…, who encouraged their goals and dreams…, who cared about them as a person.”

At UK, this personal mentoring is ingrained in our culture! This is what propelled Dr. Joseph Halcomb, our benefactor and a former UK BME program trainee in the 1970s, to lead a successful career as an industry leader, innovator, entrepreneur and venture partner. He did it by pursuing his passion, sparked by the personal nurturing he received from Professors James F. Lafferty and Charles F. Knapp, in combining engineering and medicine. Dr. Halcomb is now giving it back with his generous gift and his wish: “What I want to see more than anything else is that students in the biomedical engineering program make a difference in patients’ lives.” I wholeheartedly hope you will join us and be one of these students.

We have a unique physical and intellectual infrastructure that enables us to better serve you. UK is one of the few universities in the nation where the College of Engineering is within short walking distances from the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, Public Health, Nursing, as well as the Colleges of Design, Communication, Business, Law, Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Agriculture, etc.

Why does this matter to you? It matters because it provides a must-have transdisciplinary learning environment for you to develop critical skills necessary to thrive post-graduation in the real world as it shifts toward building human assets as the engine for economic development. These skills include the ability to communicate empathetically with people from all walks of life; the ability to prototype, build, test, and refine your engineering designs to meet the users’ needs; and the ability to frame right problems and solve them, rather than applying your engineering skills to solve problems that may have been wrongly framed by others.

While our faculty have a wide range of expertise ranging from regenerative biomaterials, tissue and musculoskeletal biomechanics, biomedical devices, biophotonics, cardiac physiology, neural systems, to computational bioengineering, your area(s) of study will only be limited by what you can dream in realizing the exciting promises of engineering-based healthcare (EnHealth). You can chase your dream here while enjoying the wonderful delights the city of Lexington offers.

As you review our programs and assess the unique life-transforming opportunity that awaits you here, I invite you to contact me or any of our faculty to discuss your specific needs. We look forward to working with you in sparking your life’s passions and meeting your career goals.


Guigen Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Endowed Chair