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Biomedical Engineering

Fact Sheet

The biomedical engineering program at Sandia National Laboratories focuses on developing technologies with the potential to control health care costs while maintaining or improving health care efficiency. Sandia's capabilities in this area are rooted in its 50 years of service as the engineering arm of the nuclear weapons program. The lab has applied a systems engineering approach to weapons development, which has been aptly applied to solving problems in health care, one of the largest and fastest-growing government expenditures.

In 1993 the nation spent $850 billion -- 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) -- on health care. This is expected to grow to 18 percent of GDP by the year 2000.

Sandia's biomedical engineering program is based on the premise that properly applied technology can help reduce health care costs. For example, technology can help with earlier diagnosis and prevention, reduced hospital stays and increased use of outpatient care, and increased efficiency of medical information management.

The laboratories' capabilities in microelectronics, high-performance computing, advanced materials, and intelligent systems are being applied to some of the nation's toughest health care challenges. Ongoing projects include:

Another medical-related project being considered for Sandia is the production of medical isotopes. Congress has mandated that the Department of Energy establish a U.S. supply for the isotopes, which currently comes almost exclusively from Canada. The DOE has recommended that the isotopes be produced in Sandia's reactor, and the proposal is undergoing review for environmental impacts.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy.
Media Contact
Chris Miller

Last modified: August 6, 1997

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