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Carilion Clinic Biodesign Program at Virginia Tech

Introducing a new state-of-the-art program to prepare the next clinical innovators

The Carilion Clinic Biodesign Program at Virginia Tech began with the belief in the potential of our region. Run by Program Directors Chris Arena (Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Department, College of Engineering at Virginia Tech), and Dr. David Salzberg (Carilion Clinic, Director of Bariatric Surgery Center), the program's unique design is a mechanism to improve the health of our communities.

An immersive clinical and engineering-intensive mentorship program in the biomedical and health sciences with emphasis on patient-centered innovation. The program brings together medical or surgical residents and graduate or postgraduate engineers in transdisciplinary teams. The curriculum covers all aspects of Biodesign, including needs assessment in healthcare, invention development, and commercialization, with a unique focus on the social determinants of health. 

We are preparing the next generation of clinical innovators to identify, fabricate, test, and market discoveries, transforming them into preventive devices, diagnostics, treatments, cures, and healthier resources to improve quality of life.

Message from Directors Arena and Salzberg

The Biodesign process is the ultimate challenge and thrill for collaborative teams of engineers and physicians with a passion for improving healthcare. You are immersed in a clinical environment and tasked with identifying unmet needs and then solving those needs through the development of novel solutions. The experience is comprehensive and covers everything from understanding different disease states to launching viable businesses. Further, the partnership between Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech creates a unique environment for studying the influence of the social determinants of health on innovation. - Chris Arena and David Salzberg

Program Features

  • Master's degree (non-thesis) through the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES).
  • Pairing of Medical Residents and Engineers. Our students are paired to work collaboratively on their final project. 
  • Faculty and mentors from Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Carilion Clinic School of Medicine, regional bioengineering ecosystem partners, startup companies, Carilion Clinic physicians and experts in numerous healthcare fields.
  • Unique immersion courses placing resident and engineering students into clinical settings across southwest Virginia. Our fellows will observe, identify needs, and solve problems from the first day. 
  • Focus on Rural Healthcare and Innovation. Rotations to enable understanding and identifying needs and resources available to the region's unique population.
  • Emphasis on individual professional development and mentorship.
  • Competitive support for students

Contact Information

Kelsey Wall
Biomedical Engineering / SBES Graduate Coordinator 
Briana Apgar
Carilion Clinic Biodesign Program at Virginia Tech,  Program Manager