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Bioengineering Meeting Sept. 16-17

September 13, 2005 — The First Annual Mountain West Biomedical Engineering Conference will be held at the Snowbird resort Friday evening Sept. 16 and Saturday Sept. 17, featuring more than 100 presentations by students from Utah’s major universities.

The meeting – sponsored by the University of Utah Department of Bioengineering and W.L. Gore and Associates, Inc. – will begin with a 7 p.m. Friday keynote lecture, “Creating a Winning Medical Device Company,” by Alfred E. Mann, founder of more than a dozen companies and chairman of the Alfred Mann Foundation.

All events will be at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort’s Cliff Lodge. Mann’s keynote address will be delivered in Ballroom 1.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, also in Ballroom 1, physician John M. Hoffman will lecture on “Molecular Imaging.” Hoffman recently left the National Cancer Institute to become a professor of radiology at the University of Utah, where he also is an investigator with The Brain Institute and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

All day Saturday, graduate and postdoctoral students from the University of Utah, Utah State University and Brigham Young University will give more than 100 oral and poster presentations on their biomedical engineering research.

Topics will range “from advances in high-resolution medical imaging to development of engineered tissues for repair of damaged or diseased organs,” says conference organizer Richard Rabbitt, professor and chairman of bioengineering at the University of Utah.

“Many of the discoveries and inventions by Utah biomedical engineers have benefits to health and the human condition, and find their way to practical application through startup companies and commercialization,” Rabbitt adds. “The state of Utah continues to be one of the most active biomedical entrepreneurial states in the nation due, in part, to the biomedical engineering and science research conducted by faculty and graduate students in Utah.”

Some of the oral presentations deal with development of a basic life support system, how brain tissue responds to implanted microelectrodes and strategies to make bone bond better to metallic orthopedic implants.

Among more than five dozen poster presentations, topics include the use of ultrasound to release medications from molecule-sized particles inside the body, advances toward devices that would let spinal cord injury patients walk again, and efforts to develop a chip that would detect signs of kidney failure.

Keynote speaker Mann has founded several medical device companies, including MannKind Corp., which develops drugs and drug delivery technologies for diabetes, cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and Advanced Bionics Corp., which makes cochlear implants to restore hearing to the deaf and nerve-stimulation devices to treat chronic pain, migraines, incontinence and chest pain.

Other companies Mann founded make such products as medication infusion and glucose monitoring systems for diabetics and cardiac pacemakers for people with abnormal heart rhythms. His other companies are developing visual prostheses that someday may restore sight to blind people, implantable hearing aids and drugs for hearing problems such as tinnitus.

Anyone may attend the conference, although the registration fee is $150. Registration is free for graduate students presenting their research and for a limited number of bioengineering undergraduate students. To register, send e-mail to

Details of the conference, including a downloadable program, may be found at

Biographical information on Mann may be found at

The University of Utah Department of Bioengineering web site is at