Mapúa Biological Engineering program contributes to the supply of strong medical workforce in the Philippines


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Mapúa Biological Engineering program contributes to the supply of strong medical workforce in the Philippines

Unprecedented events have their way of changing how the world works. This was the case when the global health crisis of COVID-19 began in 2020, affecting several sectors and challenging industries to respond to the demands of the struggling public even up to this day.

The academe, which is among the highly impacted areas by the pandemic, is now playing a much heavier role. Its responsibility to strengthen health and medical programs adds up to its duty of ensuring that instructions are continuously and effectively delivered to learners, with the objective of significantly increasing the number of health professionals who have been identified as invaluable during the crisis.

As a leading Philippine educational institution, Mapúa University sees its reputable engineering education as an enabler of such outcome, particularly its Biological Engineering program, which contributes to the production of biological engineers. Through the program, the University helps address the need for a strong medical and engineering workforce that will design new biological products or processes and equipment to support the production of existing pharmaceuticals and biologicals, including vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and recombinant proteins, toward building an independent and resilient health and medical industry for the country.

What are bioengineers and what do they do?

Biological engineers study biological processes and integrate them with different areas of engineering to develop solutions for varying fields like bioelectronics, bioprocesses, medicine, agriculture, data science, chemical biology, and molecular biology. Bioengineers collaborate with other healthcare professionals and researchers to improve existing medical systems and tools, as well as generate new technologies that will address existing clinical problems and will help improve the condition of people with illnesses. Their diverse skills in molecular biology and biotechnology, along with their knowledge in human physiology and biochemistry, provide aid in the development and design of biomaterials, stem cell and tissue replacement therapies, and other targeted therapeutics for cancer. In other fields such as agriculture, biological engineers help in designing processes to degrade stubborn pollutants, to convert low-value bioresources such as wood and grass into higher-value materials, to produce heat- or pest-tolerant crops, and other sustainable solutions that aim to conserve soil, water, and other natural resources. In all cases, these experts combine their skills in math, chemistry, physics, economics, and engineering design to find solutions for many of the problems the world is facing today. These roles demonstrate the profession’s relevance in the industry as a 21st century career that saves the lives of people and the planet.

Relevance in the industry

Biological engineering is a growing profession, as health and technology converge to revolutionize healthcare. The employment rate of bioengineers is expected to increase at a faster rate since there is now a growing demand in the field of designing medical equipment, molecular biology tools, and biological processes for the large-scale production of biologicals. Designer drugs are expected to become a trend in personalized medicine, which can be an important area for bioengineering graduates to venture into in the future. Innovation in this area of engineering is seen to grow and be at pace with the development of new technologies, also with improving healthcare and patient outcomes as part of the process. The specific talents of a biological engineer may lead them into a career in research, production management, or commercial sales.

About Mapúa’s topnotch engineering and pre-medicine degree program

The University’s dedication to produce key professionals in medicine and engineering led to its launching of the undergraduate degree in Biological Engineering in 2008 ahead of all other schools in the Philippines. The program is accredited by ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission, which signifies that it meets the quality standards to produce graduates prepared to enter the global workforce.

The program features Mapúa’s cutting-edge engineering education combined with the life sciences. It exposes students to various topics under both fields to impart in them the expertise to advance scientific knowledge and discoveries that will enable the creation of policies, strategies, and breakthroughs in engineering and medicine. The school’s strong regard for research, development, and innovation (RDI) also enables students of the program to conduct advanced researches in areas of biomaterials, bioelectronics, molecular biology, biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, biochemistry, bioinformatics, environmental bioremediation, and molecular medicine.

With its diverse discipline, Mapúa’s program offering is also considered as a very competitive pre-Medicine degree for senior high school graduates who are looking into pursuing the higher study in the future. Its curriculum provides a balance of science (chemistry, biology, and physics) and engineering courses, with core subjects providing a good background for cultivating knowledge in the field of medicine. While in the program, students will take a terminal Biological Engineering Design (Biodesign) course, which trains them to solve real-life problems in the fields of medicine and pharmaceutical industries. Here students are provided with opportunities to design technically and economically feasible processes for the large-scale production of biologicals. They are also given an opportunity to create smart designer drugs for globally significant diseases like cancer.

Apart from the Biodesign course, the biological engineering curriculum also includes major engineering courses that cover topics that are not commonly included in pre-Medicine programs, namely, engineering statics, strength of materials, and fluid mechanics. These courses have been designed to align with the biological sciences. With this, students do not only understand human physiology at the macroscopic and molecular scales, but are also able to apply physical principles in understanding how the human body works and how it can be best assisted with diseases using therapeutics or biomedical devices.

Further boosting the program’s capacity to produce top-level graduates, Mapúa has expanded its program offering by creating double-degree and joint biological engineering programs. The University now houses a double-degree program, namely, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering (MEBE), and a joint program in Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and Master of Science in Biological Engineering (BMBE). The double-degree program of Mapúa allows students to complete two university undergraduate degrees simultaneously, earning them in less time compared with taking them separately, while the BS-MS joint program allows qualified students to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees with just one year added to the normal duration of a bachelor’s degree program.

To date, Mapúa University is molding a total of 119 future Biological Engineers as of Quarter 4 of the Academic Year 2020-2021. Around 10 graduates of the program have pursued medicine and are studying in prestigious universities in the country.

Applications for Academic Year 2021-2022 are still ongoing. Apply online at https://www.mapua.edu.ph/ApplyNow.aspx. To request more information about Mapúa University and your preferred programs, visit https://www.mapua.edu.ph/ExploreMapua.


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