Irvine, Calif., September 12, 2007 - UC Irvine's Henry Samueli School of Engineering has received a $5 million gift from Edwards Lifesciences Corporation to establish a center focused on researching and developing the next generation of cardiovascular devices.
The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology will promote interaction and collaboration among students, faculty members and experts by incorporating both undergraduate and graduate programs related to heart and vascular diseases. The programs will be directed by UCI's Department of Biomedical Engineering, and will involve a variety of other disciplines, including students from the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, the Beckman Laser Institute, and UCI's Schools of Medicine, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences.
The center also will provide a training environment for hosting prominent experts in the field of cardiovascular technology. It will be located in Engineering 3, a new building on the UCI campus scheduled for completion in August 2009.
A national search is under way for a director, who will be charged with establishing a strategic plan and forming a leadership council to determine the center's specific direction.
"Our goal is to create an interdisciplinary facility that encourages students, faculty, researchers and visiting scholars to collaborate and exchange new ideas to drive the development of cardiovascular advancements and devices," said Steven C. George, M.D., William J. Link chair and professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who is spearheading the center's development. "The Edwards Lifesciences Center will thoroughly examine the integration of numerous disciplines, such as materials science, computer science, advanced imaging and microfabrication, or the manufacturing of devices with precision at levels much smaller than a millimeter, which all have the potential to lead to implantable devices that can help treat cardiovascular disease."
The Department of Biomedical Engineering, which was established in 2002 and is comprised of 16 faculty members, focuses on education, training, research and technology in areas like manufacturing miniature devices, biomedical lasers, developing computer simulations, and designing artificial tissues in the area of tissue engineering to further advance biomedical technology.
"We are pleased to closely collaborate with Edwards Lifesciences, an international leader in cardiovascular technology, to develop a center that combines exceptional faculty, resources and tools to advance this evolving field," said Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. "UC Irvine is located in one of the largest medical device company clusters in the world, which I believe uniquely positions us to address this critical health care area and initiate a world class center."
Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences, which develops products and technologies to treat advanced cardiovascular disease, is granting the multiyear gift through the Edwards Lifesciences Fund. The fund was established to support advancements in knowledge and improvements in quality of life to help those affected by cardiovascular disease, particularly in the communities where the company's employees live and work.
"We are proud to partner with a neighbor that is as accomplished and committed to excellence as UC Irvine to establish a center devoted to transformational cardiovascular technology research," said Michael A. Mussallem, Edwards Lifesciences' chairman and CEO. "This grant is a testament to our dedication to providing innovative solutions for people fighting cardiovascular disease, as well as our commitment to strengthening the communities in which we live and work."
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