News Release: Research, School of Medicine

Feb. 10,  2009

Emory, Georgia Tech, Peking University announce joint biomedical engineering PhD program

News Article ImageFounded in 1898, Peking University in Beijing, China, is among the first national universities in Chinese modern history.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA AND BEIJING, CHINA – Two highly respected biomedical engineering programs in the United States and China are breaking new ground in international academia as they begin to enroll the inaugural class of a new joint PhD program.

Members of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University traveled to Beijing last fall to finalize the program details with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Peking University (PKU).

"To my knowledge, this joint PhD program is the first of this type showcasing international cooperation in education between China and the United States. Forming a partnership with Georgia Tech and Emory will enhance our research and education in general and will provide a great opportunity for our BME students," says Jianhua Lin, Peking University Provost.

Representatives from Georgia Tech, Emory and PKU have been laying the groundwork for this program during the past five years.  Faculty collaborations have been funded by seed grants from the Coulter Foundation and, as a result, several new research projects are already underway.

"Our partnership with the recently formed College of Engineering at PKU is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to create a new paradigm for international biomedical engineering education and research," says Larry McIntire, chair of the Coulter Department. "The infrastructure being created within our departments will allow our students and faculty to learn how to conduct research and business in a global arena and will prepare them to become international leaders in 21st century biomedical engineering industry and academia."

James W. Wagner, president of Emory University, says Emory "has been engaged with Peking University for several years in developing educational and research relationships. We are very excited about launching this new global endeavor in biomedical engineering that joins the diverse strengths of three excellent institutions."

Students can apply to the program through either the Department of Biomedical Engineering at PKU in Beijing or the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory in Atlanta. Students will have an advisor at their home campus and co-advisor at their secondary campus. Primary classes and research will take place on the home campus. However, students will also spend at least a year taking classes and participating in research in the co-advisor’s lab on the secondary campus. Classes will be taught in English and a single dissertation will satisfy the thesis requirements of all three institutions.

Founded in 1898, Peking University is among the first national universities in Chinese modern history. PKU enjoys an outstanding reputation within and outside of China, based on its abundant teaching resources and outstanding research achievements. Peking University now consists of 31 colleges and 14 departments, offering 101 undergraduate programs, 224 postgraduate programs and 202 doctoral programs. The student body includes more than 4,000 international students from nearly 80 countries.

The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University is dedicated to shaping and advancing the discipline of biomedical engineering through innovative translational research, inspiring education and the comprehensive integration of engineering methods into the mainstream of health care. Founded in 1997, the department is currently ranked second among graduate programs in Biomedical Engineering by the 2009 U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools in America.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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