Message from the Chair

Cyndi Giorgis, Ph.D.

Welcome to the Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering (MMBME) at the University of Texas at El Paso, (UTEP). 

"Metallurgical and Materials Engineering" and "Biomedical Engineering" are two interdisciplinary fields with a great deal of interaction among them. Specifically, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering enables the creation and application of materials in society and forms a bridge from the basic sciences (physics, chemistry, math, biology) to engineering disciplines (mechanical, civil, electrical). Historically, the foundations of Metallurgy, Materials Science and Engineering have always influenced human civilization. Whether it is in the Stone Age, in the Bronze era or in the Iron Age, the basic tools made with stone, bronze or iron were intimately connected with human livelihood. This trend is more pronounced in modern times with the advent of gadgets that have impacted every sphere of life. 

Materials today figure extensively as an enabling parameter in nearly every system associated with modern technologies in a wide spectrum of sectors like heavy engineering, transportation, aerospace, power generation, microelectronics, information technology, and healthcare. In each of these sectors the progress has been aided by a continuous development of new and improved materials.

 Naturally occurring materials are wood, iron ore, silver and gold - just to name a few. Engineered materials like stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, plastics (high density polyethylene) and ceramics (alumina, zirconia) are created for specific applications in areas such as construction, communication, energy generation and transportation, space exploration, national defense, and healthcare. Energy-producing windmills, automobiles, buildings, cellular phones, the space shuttle, and artificial implants are all made up of materials, specifically designed for such applications. Thus, engineered materials are in every industry and advances in materials quickly impact the economy far beyond the value of the materials themselves.

Advances in materials have preceded almost every major technological leap since the beginning of civilization:

  • Biomaterials for tissue engineering and healthcare
  • Ceramics for energy applications
  • Composites and metals for aerospace
  • Eco-materials for green technologies
  • Genetically engineered molecules and semiconductors for electronics
  • Magnetic materials for information storage/processing, biomedicine, and energy conversion
  • Polymers for telecommunications and solar energy 

The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME) recently integrated Biomedical Engineering (BME) Program into its domain officially changing its name to the Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering (MMBME). "Through the merger of the two strands, the Metallurgical and Biomedical Engineering programs, we have primarily extended the metallurgy legacy to the frontiers of biomedical materials applications, technologies and innovations." 

In recent years, the Metallurgical and Materials Engineers have recognized the tremendous opportunities that are available for advances in biotechnology or biomedicine and, closer to home, the intersection of materials and biological sciences. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering is expected to play a highly significant role in the future of healthcare and hence Biomedical Engineering. Biomedical Engineering is a rapidly growing field that deals with the development and study of biomaterials, biological materials, and biomimetic materials, pushed in large part by the demands of an aging population that expects to remain healthy and active. 

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering finds its roots in solid state physics and chemistry, biology is logically the next great frontier for Materials Science and Engineering. It is appropriate for researchers and educators to integrate biology or biomedicine into materials science and engineering, and vice versa, and is the underlying reason for integrating Biomedical Engineering into Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. 

The vast majority of biomaterials used in biomedical devices have historically included common engineering materials (e.g., stainless steel, titanium, cobalt-chromium alloy, calcium phosphate, high density polyethylene, polymethylmethacrylate, etc.) that exhibited desirable properties for biomedical applications. These biomaterials enhanced the quality of life for countless individuals through interaction with biological systems. Thus, Metallurgical or Materials Engineers are well-positioned to contribute to the design and processing of biomaterials, for example, stainless steel, through education in physical metallurgy or materials processing-structure-property-performance relationships, with a little consideration of biology. 

Preparing the students for a wide variety of jobs is our top priority. We are committed to laying the foundation for successful careers in different sectors of the economy, from academia to industry. The MMBME students acquire a broad range of scientific and engineering skills and knowledge, in addition to other necessary skills that include computing skills, management and presentation skills, engineering investigation and research skills, social, environment, and health aspects of metals and materials. 

Since opening its doors as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy in 1914, UTEP is nationally recognized for its professional development and mentoring programs in engineering and the sciences. It is one of the few colleges and universities in the Unites States that enjoys a rich history and outstanding reputation amongst institutions with programs in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, or Materials Science and Engineering, and now Biomedical Engineering. Furthermore, the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering students have the opportunity to join in a number of campus organizations through the College of Engineering and professional organizations. The Metals, Minerals and Materials Society (TMS), Materials Research Society (MRS) and ASM International offer interactions with professionals in the El Paso. The MMBME department strongly encourages student participation in local, regional, national and international meetings to broader their horizon and acquire a global perspective. 

In conclusion, our sole objective is "to excel in delivering high quality, distinctive education through integrated programs of teaching, research, and practical experience". 

For further information about the Department of Metallurgical, Materials, and Biomedical Engineering, our programs, and to become a member of UTEP family, please contact: 

Devesh Misra, Professor and Chair
Department of Metallurgical, Materials, and Biomedical Engineering
The University of Texas at El Paso
Room M-201, 500 West University Avenue,
El Paso, TX 79968-052
Tel: (915) 747-8679