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Biomedical Physics?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by tryin2suxede, May 2, 2012.

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  1. tryin2suxede

    tryin2suxede

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    I have recently become interested in prosthetics and artificial organs, and tissue engineering, and I want to pick a major that will allow me to do research in this field after I become a doctor. Most of the people I have talked to suggest I do a Biomedical Engineering degree, but there is no such program at my school. However, there is a Biomedical Physics program, which I am considering switching my major into, as I have a lot of the classes done as a Premed track. To those who know, what is the difference between these two majors (like what they study, etc.) and is it possible for me to go into a MD/MS or MD/PhD program in Biomedical Engineering with a degree in Biomedical Physics?
  2. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    If biomedical physics = medicinal physics you are going to be grossly disappointed. Medical physicist are (for the most part) non-existent in the areas of research you mentioned. They are more involved with imaging, nuclear medicine, and rad onc.

    Biomedical engineering is right up the alley of what your described, so why change?

    Yes they offer MD/PhD and MD/MS's that could tackle this type of research, but you'd need a PhD to get funding (more than likely) and employment at a academic center (realistically). You can google different schools to figure out what programs/tracts they offer.

    MD/PhD's are very competitive to get and you'll need publications (in the field you'll be pursuing is a huge benefit), high GPA, High MCAT (above average), and glowing LORs to be a competitive candidate. So get cracking. They don't just hand out med school full rides to anyone with a dream and no proven track-record.
  3. tryin2suxede

    tryin2suxede

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    What do you mean change? The college I am attending does not offer a BME program for undergrads, so i want to pick a major that can help me with the class. Currently, I am majoring in Anthropology on a Premed track, but most probably I will turn that into a minor.
  4. JohnnyRomanes

    JohnnyRomanes wussup doge

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    Hmmm interesting.
    Although I'm not OP, I did not know this. Thanks for the info!
  5. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    hmm... I'm not sure how you'd do it then. Either way, get research and pubs pronto. But it is wise to pick up/switch majors to a hard science field related to research interest as you have eluded.
  6. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    I kind of fell into learning about their field when I shadowed rad onc. I never knew they existed in a hospital before then!
  7. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136

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    Only go into BME if you want to spend your entire college career learning a mismatch of random crap and end up with applicable skills (BME is ****ing stupid and I hate it :thumbdown:).

    If you want to REALLY design biomedical devices, then do chem E. or electrical E. with bio classes on the side. Most engineering colleges even have an biomedical branch you can pursue.
  8. Vesh

    Vesh

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    Just a heads-up, prosthetics and artificial organs/tissue engineering are two very different fields and almost entirely unrelated to biomedical physics. Prosthetics is a division of biomechanics, where you use mechanical engineering principles (forces, stress, strains, etc.) to solve medical problems like missing limbs. Artificial Organs/Tissue Engineering is the application of engineering principles to design in vivo environments and using biological materials to engineering cells and tissues. This is much more of a biology/stem cell type field. Both are usually within the scope of a BME major and most schools will allow you to specialize in whatever are you choose, but biomedical physics is different.

    Biomedical Physics as an undergraduate degree is extremely rare, but as I understand it, would not prepare you at all for either biomechanics or biomaterials/tissue engineering. Biomedical physics is essentially a physics major that solves biomedical problems like radiation physics (for cancer), imaging systems, biomedical software for imaging and radiation systems, etc. I myself am in the medical imaging track in my BME program and am doing research in a graduate level Medical Physics group and also have quite a bit of imaging research under my belt. I am planning on applying MD/PhD as well to continue to do imaging/radiation research so if you any questions about (bio)medical physics, let me know. I can tell you that (this is if I understand biomedical physics correctly) you will take a lot of electrical engineering courses (circuits, signal processing), advanced physics and math courses, and will probably have to become proficient in programming (physicists do a lot of data/software work). It is a very challenging field and your GPA will suffer if you are not dedicated and proficient in math and physics. In addition, as I have found in my own experience thus far, medical physics/imaging as a PhD in a MD/PhD is fairly rare and there are only a handful of students pursuing such endeavors. You will have to have a lot of physics research before applying.

    If you want to do prosthetic design, I would probably do something like mechanical engineering with a minor or focus in biology. If you want to do tissue engineering you might be able to get by with some sort of biology degree and join research labs who are doing tissue engineering type research. Either way, from the vibe I'm getting, biomedical physics is probably not the right path for you.
  9. zherussianbear

    zherussianbear

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    I've worked with Medical Physicists in Rad Onc: very interesting stuff, but not what you described you're interested in. You really have to look at the program's course descriptions and talk to professors; considering there's no BME dept, they might fill up the Med. Physics dept with courses relevant to BME. If they don't, transfer...?

    Sorry.
  10. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136

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    Unlikely. It is probably a track you can pursue in chemical engineering and electrical engineering. Those two are where BME actually came from.
  11. MedBound1

    MedBound1

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    My undergraduate major was biomedical engineering with a biomaterials/tissue engineering concentration. I absolutely loved it.

    If you did any of the following majors you could easily get into a BME grad program:
    - Mechanical Engineering.. mainly for prosthetics, devices, etc.
    - Electrical Engineering.. most every medical device these days
    - Chemical Engineering.. material interactions are a big topic
    - Polymer/Textile Engineering.. A lot of artificial tissue research going on in these fields

    You can easily make your case and get into a BME grad program with any of those backgrounds. The real decision is can you go through 4 years without learning much at all medically related and stay focused. It's all stuff that you will most certainly need to know if you are going into the research fields you mentioned, but you will be in solids, vibrations, thermo, dynamics, statics, etc. with a bunch of people that aren't thinking about medicine at all. However, you could probably go into one of these other majors and find some medically-relevant research on the side.
  12. HipChick

    HipChick

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    This +1

    If youa re seriously interested, go ME. Then for your post undergrad degree you specialize. You may be lucky and be able to sneak into some biomechanics courses through your kines department.
  13. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136

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    Based on what he said he was interested in I'd think chem E with biospecialization is the way to go. Does ME get involved with tissue engineering?
  14. MedBound1

    MedBound1

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    He said several areas that are on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum, he mentioned tissue eng which I agree would be closest to chem or polymer engineering, but he also mentioned prosthetics, which is just an applied use of mechanical engineering.
  15. zherussianbear

    zherussianbear

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    All of the above - tissue eng, prosthetics, and medical physics - would be off-shoots from a BME degree at most schools.

    You really don't need a major to take the classes you're interested in, assuming they're offered. Also, you're more likely to get exposed to what you're interested in at research internships, where you'll learn that tissue engineering is actually quite boring (but that's another story).

    Pick your classes carefully and I'm sure you'll find those which are relevant to your interests. Also, talk to professors a lot - even ones you don't know (just send an email). This way, you'll learn what you want, have help finding internships and getting connections, and get good advice in general.
  16. LogicofMan

    LogicofMan

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    Having a fair amount of experience with biomechanics and tissue engineering research during my undergrad, I have to agree with a previous poster that these are pretty disparate topics of study. I'm assuming that by "prosthetics" you mean artificial limbs and things of that nature, which is definitely a very mechanical engineering-related field. You would definitely be best served by a ME undergrad degree, then some additional classes in biomechanics (my school in canada has these through the ME department, or you can look into human kinetics courses, assuming your school has something like this).
    ME would also be somewhat beneficial for a focus in tissue engineering, but from my experience, biologists are better-suited to address many topics within this field. Manufacturing techniques result from a mish-mash of many different disciplines of engineering (think: 3D printers. electrical, computer, mechanical, materials engineering are all relevant).
    It's very tough to go wrong with mechanical engineering, since it's such a diverse field, but in short, no DO NOT go into biomedical physics for either one of these topics. Med Phys deals with imaging, rad onc, and nuclear med like a previous poster mentioned. I'm a physicist as well as an engineer, and the merits of medical physics are plentiful and you should by all means explore physics if you're into it, but it's not useful for prosthetics/tissue engineering. Biophysics, maybe. Maybe.

    Hope this helps

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