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Biomedical Engineering Students Become Business Students, Too

Most biomedical engineering students enter their field with the idea of spending their careers in a research lab, or maybe working for an established hospital or medical device company. But some decide to start businesses of their own, and their universities are helping them. Today's Boston Globe features some of those students from Massachusetts.

Particularly notable is Boston University's new Entrepreneurial Research Lab, an effort by its School of Management and Office of Technology Development to commericalize technologies that come out of its science and engineering labs. Its first participant is Brandon Johnson, a student who invented a faster method to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases and has formed a company, Boston Fluidics Inc., to commercialize the technology. Under the terms of the program, his business gets free rent in exchange for him mentoring students and taking part in research concerning how to spin off companies. Plenty of other schools have similar programs, which are now part of the fabric of science and engineering education. (Not surprisingly, BU's initiative gained steam when it hired its new president, who had been at MIT, which is famous for spinning off companies from its labs.) Some find the trend worrisome, but it's not the goal to turn all biomedical engineering students into entrepreneurs. There will be plenty that want to spend their lives at universities or at large device companies. They have had those options available to them for generations. The entrepreneurial-minded deserve the same opportunities.

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