Course: BIOEN 401: Capstone Fundamentals

Credits: 3

Instructor: Kim Woodrow

Texts and Supplemenal Materials: No textbook required.

UW Catalog Description: Preparatory course for the bioengineering capstone projects.  All students learn principles and issues involved in biomedical design and research.

Instructor Overview: The Department of Bioengineering offers two options for completing a senior capstone project.  Students who choose the BIOEN 401-402 sequence conduct an individual design project.  Students who choose the BIOEN 401-403-404-405 sequence conduct an individual research project and a team design project.  The number of total credits in each sequence is equal.

BIOEN 401 prepares students for both the individual capstone design project option (BIOEN 402) and the capstone engineering research & design sequence (BIOEN 403-404-405).  Each student is encouraged to choose a host lab before starting BIOEN 401 in spring of the junior year and must select a project topic early in BIOEN 401.

The first goal of BIOEN 401 is to teach how to understand and perform both design and research in bioengineering, and how they relate to each other.  Students will learn how to address a problem of biomedical significance using bioengineering tools. They will be coached in skills needed to thrive in a research laboratory, and to accomplish their projects efficiently.  They will also learn the importance of understanding the context of their work with respect to their colleagues, their peers, their society, and their world.

The second goal of BIOEN 401 is to ensure that all students are launched on a specific senior capstone design project (BIOEN 402) or capstone engineering research project (BIOEN 403) by the end of the quarter.  An initial review early in BIOEN 401 confirms that each BIOEN 402 project will be a culminating Bioengineering design experience; this confirmation will be made in BIOEN 404 for those students pursuing the BIOEN 403-404-405 option.  Every student is required to submit a detailed plan for their design project or research project, as appropriate.  The validity of the project is examined twice: by the BIOEN 401 instructor and later by the Student Affairs Committee.

Students will be graded on their ability to process and communicate ideas of their proposed projects.

 Prerequisites by Course: Probability and Engineering Statistics; junior or senior standing in the Department of Bioengineering.

Prerequisites by Topic: Identification of a capstone laboratory and project. Probability and Engineering Statistics; junior or senior standing in the Department of Bioengineering.

Required or Elective: Required

Course Structure: Lectures: 1 hr 20 min per meeting; meets twice per week. Meetings are a combination of lecture and recitation on capstone projects.

 Computer Use: Requires on-line access to literature and search engines, software for research and preparing both project proposals and class projects, and to communicate via email and with the course web site.  Requires preparation of project proposals and overhead slides in digital format.

 Laboratory Projects: Students must conceive and propose cutting-edge research or design projects to be carried out in faculty laboratories.  Projects (whether emphasizing research or design) proposed by the students must be developed with the full support of their proposed project mentors, so that they can be taken to completion prior to graduation.

 Specific Outcomes: By the end of the course, students will learn the following fundamental concepts:

  • Interrelation of design and research in bioengineering
  • Clinical significance for design and research in bioengineering
  • Application of bioengineering fundamentals to design tools to address a problem of high clinical significance
  • Administrative issues of bioengineering R&D
  • Ethical issues central to the practice of bioengineering R&D
  • Development, technical writing and presentation of a bioengineering R&D plan
  • Importance of bioengineering work with respect to colleagues, peers, society and the world in general.

Outcomes Addressed by this Course:

C. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints.

  • Apply design principles to solve a bioengineering problem.

Lectures introduce capstone project fundamentals, capstone examples, and clinical need and engineering development, all of which are discussed in the context of the system (device or protocol) that students are required to develop during their capstone design or research project. Students are required to integrate these fundamental concepts towards developing bioengineering solutions to address specific clinical needs. Students are assessed using by multiple assignments (see Table 2). Primary assessment will be through a Design Challenge (#4), wherein students are challenged to provide an alternative design to the proposed design element for an individual capstone project.

F. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.

  • Apply principles of research ethics and experimental standards to the planning of proposed research.

Lectures introduce specific topics of professional and ethical responsibility, including service and society, animal studies, and human subjects. Students are assessed using by multiple assignments (Table 2). Primary assessment will be through the written Summary Statement (#7), wherein students propose critical ethical questions that arise from the proposed capstone project.

G.  An ability to communicate effectively.

  • Develop professional skills, including oral and written communication skills.

Outsides speakers from academia, industry, government, and non-profit organizations provide several professional development lectures. Students will apply concepts from these lectures into the laboratory practice as well as in the development of their capstone project proposal. Students will also submit multiple writing assignments and give oral presentations to the class. This outcome is assessed via all written documents, final written Capstone proposal, and in-class presentations.

 H. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.

  • Identify societal and economic constraints of a bioengineering problem.

Lectures introduce specific topics of societal responsibilities and constraints related to bioengineering problems. Students are assessed using by multiple assignments (see Table 2). Primary assessment will be through written summaries of invited-speakers presentations related to societal constraints (#10).

J. Knowledge of contemporary issues.

  • Identify regulatory issues, including standards, that affect bioengineering problems.

Lectures introduce specific topics of regulatory responsibilities and constraints related to bioengineering problems. Students are assessed using by multiple assignments (see Table 2). Primary assessment will be through the written Summary Statement (#8), wherein students propose critical regulatory questions that arise from the proposed capstone project.

 Relationship of Course to Departmental Objectives:

This course teaches design principles to junior-level students in Bioengineering. This objective is accomplished through formal lectures, an R&D plan for design and testing of a bioengineering product, and the generation of a plan for their capstone design projects. The course is a stepping-stone for students to learn about key issues concerning bioengineering research, design and implementation.  Students learn how to initiate discussions on project collaborations with stakeholders, how to effectively communicate their proposal ideas in both oral and written formats, and how to conduct thorough self-directed inquiry to research their proposed Capstone project.  Through this intensive experience, students gain skills that will help them achieve the following Program Educational Objectives:

  1. Earn advanced degrees and/or obtain employment in bioengineering-related fields, such as medicine, device development, or biotechnology.
  2. Advance their careers by obtaining appropriate educational and professional qualifications.
  3. Serve their profession and community.
  4. Contribute to responsible development of new technical knowledge.
  5. Take leadership roles in addressing domestic or global bioengineering-related issues.

Topics Covered:

  1. Bioengineering as a field: Introducing the discipline of bioengineering as a practical tool to enhance our knowledge of biology and medicine, as well as to develop technologies for medicine.
  2. Design: engineering design for biology and medicine, system engineering.
  3. Research and Development: design, testing, implementation, and manufacturing principles in bioengineering R&D of a product.
  4. Capabilities and limitations of bioengineering.
  5. Socioeconomics.

Course Schedule:

Week Lecture Topics
1 Course logisticsDesign vs. ResearchScope of Work What makes a good (or bad) capstone project?Activity: Capstone abstracts – Design vs. Research
2 Capstone Case StudiesLab Survival Guide Presentations: My Capstone Lab & MeActivity: Responsible Conduct ResearchDue: Draft RFA (w/PI signature) (#2)Assign Peer-Review Group I (Example: Background & Significance)
3 Professional Development: AcademiaRecitation: RFA Chalk Talk & Design Challenge (#4) Technical Writing:Peer-Review IDue: Table – Goals/Milestones, Specific Activities, and Timeline (w/PI signature) (#3)Assign Peer-Review Group II (Example: SOW)
4 Professional Development: Start-UpRecitation: Milestones Discussion & Feedback Technical Writing:Peer-Review II
5 Professional Development: Industry CIDR: Program EvaluationDue: Background & Significance (Draft) (#5)Recitation: Review III – Background & Significance
6 Professional Development: GovernmentPeer-Review III Discussion: Societal constraints of bioengineering solutionsDue: Summary Statement (Review III) (#7)
7 Professional Development: Non-Profit Discussion: Regulatory constraints for bioengineering solutionsDue: Scope of Work (Draft) (#6)
8 Peer-Review IV – SOW Funding Agencies, Budgets & budget justificationDue: Summary Statement (Review IV) (#8)
9 Oral Presentations: Tips & Strategies Recitation: Final Proposal Feedback
10 Presentation: Project Pitch Presentation: Project PitchDue: Final Proposal (#1)

Course Outcomes and Assessment:

Course Grading: Grade (%) Core Competencies1 Writing Across the Curriculum2
Final Capstone Proposal (1) 25PI Signature C, F, H, J Library research (I); Working from sources (I); Citation/Avoiding plagiarism (I); Project proposal (In); Thesis (In)
Draft RFA (2)Draft Table: Goal, Deliverables/Outcomes, Timeline (3) 10PI Signature C Revision (I); Working from sources (I); Citation/Avoiding plagiarism (I); Project proposal (In); Thesis (In)
Design Challenge (4) 5 C Revision (I); Working from sources (I); Citation/Avoiding plagiarism (I); Project proposal (In); Thesis (In)
Draft Background & Significance (5) 5PI Signature C, F, H, J Library research (I); Working from sources (I); Citation/Avoiding plagiarism (I); Project proposal (In); Thesis (In)
Draft Scope of Work (6) 5PI Signature C, F, H, J Library research (I); Working from sources (I); Citation/Avoiding plagiarism (I); Project proposal (In); Thesis (In)
Summary Statement – Background & Significance (7) 10 F Revision (I); Giving feedback on writing, speaking, teamwork (In, A, I)
Summary Statement – Scope of Work (8) 10 J Revision (I); Giving feedback on writing, speaking, teamwork (In, A, I)
Speakers: Societal and Regulatory Constraints (#10) 10 H Context, purpose and audience (A)
Project Pitch (#11) 15 G Context, purpose and audience (A); Elevator speeches (In)
Class Participation 5 -
TOTAL 100

1Core Competencies:

  • (C) Apply design principles to propose solutions to a bioengineering problem
  • (F) Apply principles of research ethics and experimental standards to the planning of proposed design or research
  • (G) Develop professional skills including communication skills
  • (H) Identify societal constraints of a bioengineering problem
  • (J) Identify regulatory issues, including standards, that affect bioengineering problems

2Writing Across the Curriculum:

  • In = Introduction
  • A = Application
  • I = Integration

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