Scientists are on the verge of a revolution in biomedical engineering that will forever change the way we think about medicine, even life itself. Cutting-edge researchers are working to build body organs and tissue in the lab. They are developing ways to encourage the body to regenerate damaged or diseased bone and muscle tissue. Scientists are striving to re-route visual stimuli to the brain to help blind people see. They may soon discover methods to enlist the trillions of microbes living in our bodies to help us fight disease. Learn about four strands of bioengineering―tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, neuroengineering, microbial science, and genetic engineering and synthetic biology―and meet scientists working in these fields.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Booklist (December 1, 2019 (Vol. 116, No. 7))
Grades 8-12. Young scientists need look no further for a solid introduction to engineering in biology and medicine. Latta educates readers on the use of stem cells in the regeneration of limbs, the creation and repair of organs, brain-computer interfaces that help with restoring movement, gene therapy and its role in treating illnesses, as well as research on neurons and the part played by bacteria in improving health and immunity. Material is made engaging through interesting anecdotes that introduce each chapter. Large color photographs and diagrams accompany the text, and each chapter contains additional factual asides and related text within boxed sidebars. Spotlights on notable biomedical and chemical engineers highlight these important role players as well as the steps necessary to pursue such a career. The inclusion of statements from researchers and scientists working on real-life cases adds further insight, with each case highlighting the incredible possibilities of the field. This foundational text is must-have for juvenile nonfiction collections.
Kirkus Reviews starred (September 15, 2019)
A primer on biomedical engineering. Veteran science author Latta (Zoom in on Mining Robots, 2018, etc.) here spotlights the fascinating convergence of medicine, engineering, and scientific discovery, offering provocative glimpses into the burgeoning fields of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, microbiology, genetic engineering, and synthetic biology. Inspiring problem-solving–minded teens to explore these STEM disciplines by describing projects so cutting edge they seem like science fiction, Latta also includes brief profiles and photos of diverse researchers that enable readers to imagine themselves pursuing similar careers. Says Dr. Gilda Barabino, “I think there’s a little bit of an engineer in everybody. It’s curiosity! Everybody wants to know how things work.” Areas of potential breakthrough covered include brain-computer interfaces that may one day allow people with paralysis or limited mobility to move their limbs or control a robot helper; editing the human genome to treat chronic diseases like sickle cell disease by removing and replacing damaged DNA; optogenetics, which hopes to combine gene therapy with light to reduce pain and cure blindness; and growing bespoke body parts like bone, skin, arteries, and more in the lab, seeded by one’s own cells and partially crafted by 3-D bioprinters. Full-color diagrams and photos combined with informative text boxes and a lively, conversational style make this an appealing choice. Hot and heady: an enticing calling card for researchers of tomorrow. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 13-18)
About the Author
Sara Latta is the author of seventeen books for children and young adults on topics that include dark matter, the secret life of microbes, DNA, bones, and forensic science. She also has a masters degree in immunology. She does have a bit of a phobia about heights, as she discovered when faced with having to climb down from a pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Her website is www.saralatta.com
Collection of Biomedical Engineering Lesson Plans
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