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John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium Brochure
BEC brochure cover

The John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium (JGBEC) was established to provide an environment and a mechanism to promote interdisciplinary research, leveraging the unique skills, capabilities, and facilities of the membership. NASA established the JGBEC through a Space Act Agreement in 2002 to be managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The consortium was directed to provide inter-institutional research and technology development aimed at applying Glenn’s expertise in fluid physics and sensor development with local biomedical expertise to mitigate the risks of space flight on the health, safety and performance of astronauts. The original Space Act Agreement was renewed in 2005, and a second time in 2008.

Members of the consortium include Glenn, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC), and the National Center for Space Exploration Research (NCSER). The Consortium works closely with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which manages NASA’s Human Research Program and assures that new knowledge and technology will be applied in space.

CWRU’s biomedical engineering department is one of the five best in the nation. UHC and its Research Institute (UHRI) are ranked first in the state of Ohio in terms of research support from the National Institute of Health. Overall, UHRI investigators attract over $100 million in extramural research funds from federal, non-federal and industry sources. UHC’s recognized strengths are in the areas of pediatric research, cancer, orthopedics, infectious diseases, dermatology, radiology, radiation oncology, and genetics. The Cleveland Clinic also maintains over $100 million in sponsored medical research and employs over 400 research scientists, associates and fellows. It is ranked first in the nation in cardiac expertise and is in the top five in six other specialties.

Glenn’s previous partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic, CWRU and UHC have produced patented devices such as heart valves, heart-assist pumps, and bone stress sensors. Scientists and engineers from the NCSER, a Cleveland-area alliance, have already assisted NASA in solving fluids-related problems for space applications and in various biomedical and biotechnology areas. Through participation in this consortium, the NCSER is expanding its role through involvement with several consortium research projects.

The strategic partnerships established with these premier biomedical research institutions through the JGBEC have provided an excellent foundation for biomedical research and technology development in support of NASA’s future exploration missions. The JGBEC provides a sound mechanism for NASA to continue to leverage millions of research dollars from other sources being spent in Northeast Ohio on human health. Glenn’s proximity to these institutions facilitates close collaboration via personnel exchange as well as the sharing of facilities and laboratories. Glenn’s proximity to the JGBEC members has also proved to be critical in its management and has resulted in projects that are meeting their proposed deliverables and timelines. For additional information about our projects, see our project pages at left.

The projects of the John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium ranged from the development of hardware systems and testing with human subjects, to novel devices and diagnostic instrumentation, to research for the future development of advanced technology devices. Some of the key results of the research are discussed in the newest publication below.

John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium Brochure John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium Brochure


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Tim Reckart
Editor: Emily Owens
NASA Official: Marsha M. Nall
Last Updated: November 9, 2009
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