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BME 1 Fall Quarter 2021: Assignments - General Info


Assignments - Introduction

There are several assignments that you will complete to satisfactorily pass this course.  They require you to gain familiarity with many different types of resources that are the foundation of the biomedical literature.  Read each assignment carefully and you will likely be engaged in working on multiple assignments at once.  You will want to stay focused and consider how you can use resources for different purposes and assignments.  You will be engaged in a lot of research and writing.  Remember where you find information and cite it properly by following a Style Manual and track how you found it in case you need to revisit the source.  

There is a box for each separate assignment to direct you to specific resources and methods to successfully address and complete the work.

Group Assignment 1 - Cancer Diagnostics - explore a type of cancer

Group Assignment 2 - Medical Devices & Tissue-Engineered Products - patent application on a device technology

Group Assignment 3 - Global Health Technologies - presentation on a point-of-care diagnostic technology

Individual Assignment 1 - Essay - Why do I want to be a biomedical engineer?

Individual Assignments 2-3 - Problem sets

Questions for Guest speakers

Again, please contact the Engineering Librarian if you have any questions.


Finding Information

It may be helpful  to conduct a Literature Search and Review  to design each of your group projects: Goal of the Literature Search -              hypothesis, statement of purpose, motivation, initial interest
    • Introduction - method of conducting search - what databases, search engines were used; output that was retrieved
    • Categories of literature uncovered or retrieved - books, book chapters, reference works, journal articles, conference proceedings, patents, marketing & sales data and plans, financials, academic research, commercial and government websites, etc
    •  Summary - experience of the search
  • CITING INFORMATION - Remember to cite or reference all sources that you include in your group project, especially design work.  Ask Librarian if you have questions. List of major references or output in bibliographic form - remember to use consistent citation formatting and to practice cross-referencing when you can from other elements in the body of the report.  For additional information about citation format, you may want to use APA Style and consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020 available at Langson Library Reference Desk at BF 76.7 P83 2020.  Online support is here.
  • Another style manual that you may want to consider using is the IEEE Style and the IEEE Editorial Style Manual should be consulted for how to comply
  • Remember that this assignment is an interdisciplinary exercise and will require conducting a literature search in different disciplines including engineering, medicine, life sciences, business and patents.
Biomedical Engineering Research - most resources will be located at Science Library (SL), but occasionally you will see holdings at Langson Library (LL) or the Grunigen Medical Library (GML)
The books at UC Irvine Libraries are arranged by call number. Appropriate ranges include QT 36-37 and WB 140. This material will be at the SL.  Circulating books are in the Library Bar - the straight part of the SL.  Bound journals occupy the Drum or the round part of the SL
The following online catalogs can be used to locate materials:
  • Library Search - UCI Catalog of holdings in all formats
  • MELVYL Catalog - Collections of all UC campuses now powered by WorldCatLocal, meaning that you must determine if you want to restrict your search (recommended) to UC Libraries or to Worldwide searching  - the worldwide inventory notes UCI holdings - if you need to borrow from another UC library use the MELVYL REQUEST icon - try first to identify local content/information


All catalogs can be searched under the subject heading biomedical engineering or by keyword.

Coding Resources for different assignments

Resources listed below are coded for potential utility with specific assignments - Below you will find suggestions, selected resources, as well as some hints and directions for your research.

Cancer Diagostics - A

Cardiovascular Engineering - B

Global Health Technologies - point-of-care tools/technologies - C

Project 1 - Cancer Report

Following are hints for the project:

  1. Read the assignment carefully
  2. Consider consulting or reading some important literature such as Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (2013)
  3. Choose the form of cancer that you will be studying such as gastric cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, etc by Oct 11
  4. Establish roles for each member of the group - Leader, Editor, Curator, and Art Director
  5. Consider creating workspace to share on Google Drive and create outline of final report -
  6. This project is divided into 3 tasks: 1) meet with group, determine assignments & responsibilities - review cancer types; 2) conduct literature review and identify coverage to be included in the annotated bibliography; 3) compose report with references, relevant figures and images
  7. the following topics must be addressed, so divide up the assignment as follows:

    - incidence and impact statistics - background, population demographics, mortality, # of cases

    - relevant biological and anatomical features related to malignancy - medical, physiological, anatomical, biological

    - how are malignancies detected? - symptoms, diagnostics, biopsies, scans, etc

    - how are they treated? - therapies & treatments, drug interventions, chemo cocktail, radiation, surgeries, rehabilitation

    - what are the critical needs going forward? - clinical trials, stem cell therapies, new & emerging research directions

  8. Contact Liaison Librarian for appointment or meeting with group - all group members should attend that meeting - in order to reserve appointment times for the week of Oct 5-14 sign up logging into Google Drive at 
  9. terminology is important - neoplasms is used in PubMed instead of cancers; some cancers are about certain parts of the body, ie) you will find references to gastric cancer as well as stomach cancer, or another example is anal/renal cancer; some emphasis is placed on staging of cancer - 1 refers to least advanced and 5 would suggest a far more advanced case; cancer travels and the first diagnosis of cancer is what the patient suffers from even though it may have metasticized many years later somewhere else and that ultimately caused death
  10. the 3 databases that index journal articles, PubMed, Google Scholar and the Web of Science all contain peer-reviewed journal articles
  11. focus on diagnosis and therapies -
  12. conduct literature search for journal articles in PubMed, and trace references found in other reference sources
  13. recognize that peer review refers to the publication process - specialists comment upon submissions to ascertain that the research and data can be replicated, the findings are accurate and that new contributions of the literature are made - searching the PubMed database will assure that content has been peer reviewed

Research background of specific diagnostic - remember that in the clinical cancer literature, neoplasm is used instead of cancer

Consider age factors, predisposition, family health history, external & environmental factors

Develop chronology

Consider form of cancer, history of patient attributes, legitimate & bonafide treatments

Examine technologies - find short films on YouTube; images (on the Subject Guide under Finding Images or Medical Images)

Sources - you should examine:

  1. Reference tools - encyclopedias (Medline Plus or WebMD), handbooks that contain background information - often the medical and specifically the cancer literature is released by the National Institiutes of Health (NIH) which is the umbrella governmental unit over the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all excellent sources of information.   
  2. Journals - peer reviewed from a database such as PubMed (use the link to the UCI version below so that you get the UC eLinks), Google Scholar, or Web of Science. 
  3. Medical Textbooks - ex) Encyclopedia of Cancer (is an eBook listed below)
  4. Support group information directed for the patient and their family - from the American Cancer Society or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; from the national cancer centers or major hospitals

Citing your sources - this may be a bit complicated depending on what the source is and in what format it was that you consulted.  For journal articles, the format is:

Author(s). Title of article.  Source (Title of Publication) volume # (issue #), pages, (date). 

If you do not have all these elements and it was an online article, enter the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) which is a unique number corresponding to the article.  Do not use the URL except for a website.

Why do I want to be a Biomedical Engineer?

This assignment expects you to write an essay about why you want to be a biomedical engineer?  Why did you choose this major?  You may want to conduct a literature review of an aspect of the History of Biomedical Engineering and summarize it in an essay or consult some of the demographic data about the current economics.  The Whitaker Foundation that was in operation from 1975 and helped establish many biomedical engineering programs including this one at UCI closed in 2006. In addition to reviewing content referenced on the "Background" tab, you may find it helpful to consider the following resources:

Interacting with the Guest Speakers

In order to write a detailed lecture report, you may want to find out more about the speaker and the companies with which they have been affiliated and then pick up a thread and develop that for your report.  Finding information about the Guest Speakers and their topic of influence, industry sector and weekly reading can be done in several ways.  These resources will be helpful:

1.  Biographical information and sources -

2.  Newspaper Sources - reviewing business sections of local, regional, national newspapers and professional trade newsletters and sources will be helpful.  Some hints:  local newspapers all have a business section - consult indexing sources instead of just the current edition of the paper because the archive is usually not included - for instance the Orange County Register or the Los Angeles Times only have a week available for free - use the links noted on the Subject Guide for specific access to current and archival editions - remember that the LA Times has many editions (7 in total) as does the Wall Street Journal - we get the west coast edition. Consulting the following sources is recommended:

  1. Factiva
  2. LexisNexis Academic Universe - under News
  3. Orange County Business Journal

3.  Corporate Directories - these often give background on corporate executives, founders and lead people in the organization - consult the following sources

  • Orange County Business Directory, 2010 - LL Ref Desk - F868.06 O6644 2010 and other directories listed under Competitive Intelligence for Company & Business Information

4. Additional Research - you may want to consult the reference resources on the "Recommended Resources" tab on this Subject Guide to learn about specific information needs you may have.

Best Practices for Group Assignments

Things you will want to do:

1.  Convene group - establish a "team leader" and confirm topic

2.  Break down assignment so that everyone has tasks -some ideas for divisions may include elements of the following outline - this is usually for   4-5 persons and can be adjusted to include more or fewer people in group:

a.  basic research

b.  consider the final written report - establish common voice

c.  consider the presentation - find relevant images 

3.  Have group schedule meeting with Librarian to review relevant sources - appointments can be scheduled with Julia from January 12 whenever group can convene or can also meet individually - send her message with a couple of times that work for the group and the topic of the group so she can begin preparing for your meeting - meetings can be in the evenings and on weekends - she will confirm appointment.  In the eMail message enter BME1 Group and topic in the subject line so message does not get lost.

4.  Communicate often by eMail about progress

5.  Share research findings widely

6.  Meet regularly

7.  Put together presentation

Liaison Librarian

Profile Photo
Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971


Hints for Problem Sets

There are 2 different problem sets:

1.  Problem Solving and Design in Engineering - Homework #1 - due November 29

2.  Bioethics and Getting Started with Research - Homework #2 - due December 5