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Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Design of Medical Devices
graduate student with a professor


The design of medical devices represents a synthesis of knowledge and experience gained from any of the specialization areas. One course, ME 683 Design of Medical Devices, has been designed especially to address this topic, and provides an immersive experience in the technical and regulatory requirements for designing a coronary angioplasty catheter and a spinal or orthopedic implant. Student teams develop a prototype, proof-of-concept demonstration, and 501K-style documentation for their projects. After this course, students are prepared to create designs as part of their graduate thesis or project, in collaboration with a faculty member. We are continually working to update and improve the course by consulting with industry members, who also visit as guest speakers. This course has been rated very highly by students, who appreciate the relevance to understanding the considerations of the medical device industry, as well as to the technical issues in the design process.

Tissues in the human body respond when an implant or foreign material is brought into direct or indirect contact. Controlling this response is the goal of medical device design, and is applied to faculty research in several areas. Several of these areas have already been described, including cardiovascular, orthopedic and neural. There are often opportunities to perform studies and develop device designs through local industry collaborations. This work has been particularly popular with our Masters of Engineering students, which they study for their seminal project.

We have expanded our efforts to develop industry collaborations in the design of medical devices through the SDSU Biosciences Center. We have worked with companies to design specialized syringes, pumps and an epidural thermal posterior annuloplasty device used in the biotechnology or medical fields. In addition, some applied problems related to devices, which may include functionally structured porous materials, are being considered in the framework of the general powder science and technology direction. Examples of such material systems include hydroxyapatite-based composites with micro-channeled structure with potential use in drug delivery devices.

We have a team of researchers in the areas of sensors and wireless technologies. Furthermore, San Diego State University has a well-established expertise in diabetic research. We will approach the problem via a deep collaboration between the researchers in ERC/SNE and BioScience Center at SDSU. Our goal is to introduce a new way of delivering health care through wireless technology that will allow healthcare providers the real-time ability to receive diabetes data from patients and send notifications to patients. In addition, the technology has the potential to lead to a new startup company.

Dr. May-Newman 




LVAD, a mechanical pump surgically connected to the heart to treat heart failure. 


Cardiac simulator developed at SDSU to test Biomaterials and Biomechanics devices. 

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, E-326

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182-1323