It’s hard to imagine, but “engineering in medicine” and “biomedical engineering” programs were virtually unheard of 50 years ago. People like Walt Lillehei and Earl Bakken simply tackled problems with a can-do attitude, studying medical and engineering material outside their fields as necessary.

The explosion of technological advancements and knowledge about biological systems naturally led to biomedical engineering departments and academic institutes like IEM. A broad outline of the University of Minnesota’s bioengineering history — including IEM — is captured below.

The University of Minnesota creates a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering
M.S. in Biomedical Engineering program added
The Biomedical Engineering Task Force proposes a Biomedical Engineering Center (BMEC)
The Center for Interfacial Engineering, a University-led NSF Engineering Research Center, creates the Center for Biomedical Interfacial Engineering (BIE)
The State of Minnesota appropriates funds for a new Biomedical Engineering Center (BMEC) at the University
The UMN creates the Biomedical Engineering Institute (BMEI), managed by the Medical School and the Institute for Technology (today’s CSE) to encompass biomedical engineering graduate programs, BIE, and BMEC
BMEI becomes the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME)
BME is split into BMEI (under the Medical School) and BME (under the Institute for Technology/CSE) Jeffrey McCullough is the first Director of BMEI
BMEI changes its name to the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM)
Bin He is named second Director of IEM
John Bischof is named Interim Director of IEM
John Bischof is named Director of IEM
Jeffrey McCullough was the first Director of BMEI which is now IEM
Jeffrey McCullough

Director 2000-2012

Bin He - IEM Director, 2012-2017
Bin He

Director 2012-2017

John Bischof

Director 2017-current