A collaboration between The University of Texas at Dallas, UT Southwestern Medical Center and TI will take biomedical engineering and research to new levels

15 Nov 2021
 

Early in the pandemic, Praveen Aroul and his wife worried about taking their infant son to the hospital when he got seriously ill.

“The pandemic really made us think twice before taking him to the emergency room or even to the doctor’s office because of the possibility of being exposed,” said Praveen, an application manager and member of the prestigious Technical Ladder at our company.

But even as he worried about providing appropriate care for his son – who recovered fully – the situation got him thinking about the potential role that advancements in biomedical engineering might have played.

“I wondered why we were not using technology as much to get the relevant information to the doctors,” he said. “I thought there should have been more research on portable health care that would provide a great benefit in these situations. When I tell my story to friends and colleagues, they say similar things. I’m not alone.”

Praveen – and others who could benefit from advances in a wide range of biomedical technologies – are about to get a big boost.

Dr. Praveen Aroul with his son, Guhan.

With a $15 million donation from our company, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) are joining together to create the new Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Building in Dallas. The $120 million research facility will accelerate collaboration between the two landmark institutions and the translation of biomedical technologies from ideas to treatment.

“What were once two disparate fields – medicine and engineering – are now working together to make new discoveries about human life and health, and UTD and UT Southwestern are the ones doing it,” said Rich Templeton, our company’s chairman, president and CEO. “What gets me personally excited is that semiconductor technology is at the center of it.”

A long legacy

The collaboration advances a long legacy between TI and UTD, whose shared founders worked tirelessly to create a world-class research and educational institution in North Texas. TI founders Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green believed that research is critical to deliver the breakthrough technologies required to stay ahead in an ever-changing world. So, in 1961, they established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest in Richardson, Texas. That center later became UTD.

“I believe that our shared founders would be proud of how their vision for a top public research university and source of local engineering talent has unfolded,” Rich said. “More than 50 years ago, they set the foundation for why TI invests in STEM education – to nurture and encourage future innovators. Our investment in this new building is certainly an example of this.”

Construction of the new biomedical engineering facility will begin on the UT Southwestern campus this fall and is expected to be complete in 2023. It will enable the two institutions to leverage their shared research strengths in basic and applied biomedical and engineering sciences to advance patient care. UT Southwestern in Dallas is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. UTD’s eight schools offer more than 140 undergraduate and graduate programs.

The 150,000-square-foot building will provide research and support space to dozens of faculty and graduate and undergraduate students from both institutions. It will include labs for equipment development testing, research bench space, offices for informatics experts and software developers to interact, and space to assess research participants and patients involved in clinical studies and trials. A biodesign center will feature a large assembly and design studio, a metal fabrication shop, and rooms for 3D printing.

“Biomedical engineering and science are major drivers of UT Dallas’ rapidly growing research portfolio,” said Dr. Richard Benson, UTD president. “The already-robust partnership between UT Dallas and UT Southwestern will take another huge step forward upon the launch of our shared facilities in the Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Building. This partnership will also provide students and faculty with more opportunities to create transformative technologies that will improve lives. We are grateful for the visionary support of Texas Instruments in this endeavor.”

“I am confident that the Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Building will be home to engineering solutions for some of the most important unmet medical needs,” said Dr. Daniel Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center. “The programs in this new facility will be driven by the spirit of innovation that I know has been at the core of Texas Instruments since its formation. This initiative launches a new era in the intersection between these universities and Texas Instruments, whose founders played a pivotal role in establishing UT Dallas and, many years ago, also helped to set the course at UT Southwestern as a global leader in biomedical research.”

A marriage of medical technologies

For Praveen, the collaboration between UTD and UT Southwestern is natural. His doctoral research at UTD, which he completed in 2011, focused on semiconductor technology required to develop an intensive care unit that relies on wireless patient monitors. He spent a lot of time working closely with UT Southwestern during his research.

Today, semiconductor technology is part of our daily lives, from the cars we drive to the medical devices we rely on for health care. Advances in biomedical engineering and the sciences have led to new diagnostics, medical devices and therapeutics ranging from noninvasive imaging technologies such as ultrasound and MRI to implantable cochlear implants.

“We are no longer limited by technology. We are only limited by imagination,” Rich said. “That’s where the brilliant minds at UTD and UT Southwestern come in – to join medical and engineering talent and resources to solve increasingly complex challenges in how patients are treated.”