Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Pathophysiology and Design for Cardiovascular Disease


In tomorrow’s world, physicians, social and biological scientists, engineers, and computer scientists will be the core of teams that will solve the major problems that threaten human health. Bridging these diverse areas will require new thinkers who can understand human biology and can also think creatively about how to approach these problems.

By focusing on a specific topicheart diseasestudents in this seminar will learn about the multi-factorial problems leading to the number one cause of death in the U.S., along with how to apply design thinking and their own creativity in the context of healthcare in order to begin tackling such challenges. 

The seminar will use a ‘flipped classroom’ approach, in which students will prepare for class by reviewing videos, reading short pieces, and engaging in thought questions that enable learning about topics in heart disease, the healthcare system, and the biodesign process for health technology innovation. Most of the in-class time will be spent working in small groups on case studies or activities, constructively critiquing existing and emerging technologies, and engaging with course and guest experts. Studentsindividually, together in groups, and with guidance of instructorswill practice defining important problems in heart disease, as well as proposing and evaluating novel solutions.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Ross Daniel Venook

"An electrical engineer by training, I have spent the past two decades developing new medical technologies. I have worked as an engineer or technical advisor on projects that range from new types of MRI hardware, to new ways to navigate the heart, to new implantable neurostimulators, to umbilical cord protection devices for newborns. Some of these made it to patients as products of a major medical device manufacturer, some made it as products of early-stage startups, and others have yet to reach patients (and might never). As a Lecturer in the Bioengineering Department, and Assistant Director of Engineering at the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, I delight in opportunities to work at the interface of technology and human health with motivated students and other collaboratorslearning together by pursuing unmet medical needs that have the potential to improve the lives of patients."

Paul J. Wang, MD

"I am a physician specializing in heart disease. I believe passionately that so many people in the world suffer from diseases because we do not have the right people tackling these problems. This is the inspiration for this seminarto excite students to try to apply their imagination and knowledge to solve problems that will help humanity by improving health. I would love for students with every background and interest to take this seminar. I also dream that the students will live and breathe thinking about new ideas everyday as I do and that they will be passionate too about finding ways to solve these problems."