WWU Receives Grant to Upgrade Bioengineering Labs

WWU receives grant to upgrade bioengineering laboratories 

Walla Walla University’s School of Engineering has been awarded a $351,000 grant by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to redesign space and provide new equipment for bioengineering labs. 

The grant will be matched by generous WWU donors and will provide more than $700,000 to be invested in the new laboratories. The funds will provide the School of Engineering with the needed space to grow its bioengineering concentration and actively engage students in bioengineering design, research and development. “Coursework and research in this new space will provide students with excellent preparation to enter the rapidly growing field of bioengineering or to excel in medical school,” said Brian Roth, dean of the School of Engineering. 

The redesigned space in Chan Shun Pavilion and new laboratory equipment, such as laminar flow hoods, centrifuges, a spectrophotometer, microscopes, incubators, an autoclave and a bioreactor, will allow students to work with living cells and to test biomaterials in a sterile environment. Previously, bioengineering classes have been accommodated by the Department of Biological Sciences and functioned in a shared space. 

Janice McKenzie, associate professor of bioengineering, said students' research will improve substantially with the new laboratories. “It’s a great opportunity to collaborate. Students will have the chance to build connections with people in the industry and academia through bioengineering projects,” said McKenzie. In addition, students from a wide range of disciplines will have access to the labs. Previous bioengineering research has involved students studying biochemistry, biology and mechanical and electrical engineering. 

The School of Engineering has seen significant growth in its bioengineering program, including the addition of a bioengineering concentration in 2017. An interdisciplinary bachelor’s of science in bioengineering is also offered jointly by the School of Engineering and the Department of Biological Sciences.

The expanded laboratories are expected to be completed in time to hold classes during spring quarter. 

Founded in 1947, the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering has graduated more than 1,400 students. Over the last two years, 100% of bioengineering graduates were employed or accepted to graduate school by the time they graduated. Since 2017, nearly 100% of graduates who applied for medical school were accepted. 

For more information, visit wallawalla.edu/engineering. 

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