As a result of advances in experimental technology and methods of computation and analysis in recent years, Life Science has been transformed into a highly organized field of science on the systematic level. The astonishing progress in functional genomics, molecular evolution, intracellular dynamic image analysis, systematic neuroscience, complex multiple factor disease research, signal transduction, and integration of modulation has attracted researchers from various fields such as chemistry, mathematics, and physics to participate in this era of “a hundred viewpoints contending”. Chang Gung University founded the Department of Life Science in 2003 and renamed it as Department of Biomedical Sciences in 2010 to highlight the strength of our medicine-oriented campus.
Where will the newly founded Department of Biomedical Sciences proceed from here? There are two principles for our consideration. First, considering the global knowledge-based economy is currently in command, the acquisition of information has become easy and convenient and the subjects of research are plentiful. Therefore, research-oriented universities bear the responsibility of training students in conducting research. The boundary between undergraduate teaching and graduate teaching has become more and more indistinct day by day. The lower division, the upper division, the master’s division, the doctorate division, and the post-doctoral division have formed a continuum rather than clearly separated phases (Gonzalez, C., Science 293:1624; 2001). The importance of undergraduate research has become more valued and the research laboratories of the professors have become an important part of the university’s life. Due to the explosion of knowledge, students will not be able to keep up with the advancement if they are limited to teaching received in the classroom. This is even more so for the students of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Therefore, our students need to go into the laboratory, wash beakers and test tubes, run the electrophoresis experiment, feed the mice, and develop independent learning abilities
Second, the major courses for biomedical students diverge far ahead of the major courses for students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering. Students of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and other departments of the College of Medicine mostly receive the courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry from other departments or the General Education Center. Therefore, many students have the idea of simply passing the course requirements. C.P. Snow believed that science and humanism are two different cultures. Nowadays, biomedicine, science and engineering have gradually formed two different cultures; one with weak knowledge in mathematics and science, and the other with needs for mathematics and science. That is to say, up to date, biomedicine is still considered as a soft science lacking accurate and precise quantification. However, the scope of life science ranges from ancient biology to modern molecular biology. As a result, the courses available for selection should be very complete. The Department’s curriculum design takes into consideration the principle of providing the core concepts essential to students and avoids too many optional courses in a buffet style. The design of a modern biology curriculum should include an integrated introductory quantitative science curriculum (Bialek and Botstein, Science 303: 788; 2004). The curriculum should include mathematics, sciences, and biology with a focus on biological phenomenon and principles of applied mathematics and science. Moreover, the basic concepts of modern life science are presented in a coherent manner:
general biology → biochemistry → molecular cell biology → genomics/proteomics/bioinformatics as core courses to help students build a solid foundation. Courses such as evolutionary biology, genetics and development, microbiology, and animal physiology are also available for the students to expand the scope of their knowledge.
The ultimate goal of the Department of Biomedical Sciences is to educate and develop students to become intellectuals with independent thinking abilities and positive attitudes. Students are trained to prepare themselves to become life scientists with leadership abilities. Here in the Department, we have the best research environment and a group of enthusiastic professors. We hope to create a healthy, happy, and energetic research paradise in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.