Nicholas Kenyon honored for innovative engineering and medicine training program

August 21, 2013

Nicholas Kenyon, a pulmonary and critical care physician at UC Davis Medical Center, has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for building a collaborative training program with the UC Davis College of Engineering known as Capstone Senior Design Course. The program fosters collaboration among medical and engineering students in the development of new devices to advance health. Kenyon created the program with colleague Cristina Davis, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Other key instructors include professors Angelique Louie and Tony Passerini in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Cristina Davis and Nicholas Kenyon
Cristina Davis and Nicholas Kenyon

Kenyon was named a finalist for the AAMC Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-Focused Training. The award, which recognizes creative, collaborative partnerships, will be presented at the AAMC Graduate Research, Education and Training Group's annual professional development meeting on Sept. 20 in Atlanta. The UC Davis School of Medicine will receive a $1,000 cash prize for its role in the award-winning submission.

Under the supervision of Davis and Kenyon, the Capstone Senior Design Course has developed strong interdisciplinary ties between the UC Davis College of Engineering, Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) and School of Medicine. Conceived in 2008 as a means of removing barriers between medicine and other disciplines, the program has encouraged clinicians and engineers to collaborate on medical engineering projects that are selected based on their high likelihood of success. Student teams, mentored by engineering and medicine faculty, prototype instruments or systems from design to fabrication and testing.

Since its inception, the program has involved 40 faculty mentors, more than 100 students and 25 projects. Successful projects include an intensive care unit (ICU) patient self-hydration unit, a mechanical walker for critically ill ICU patients, an endoscopic balloon drug delivery device, a low-cost pediatric treadmill for home use by disabled children and many other ingeniously designed prototypes.

The Capstone Senior Design Course, as well as collaborations among scientists throughout UC Davis, have benefited from support from the UC Davis CTSC. The center is part of a national consortium, led by the National Center for Acelerating Translational Research at the National Institutes of Health, that is improving how biomedical research is conducted across the nation. Its goals are to reduce the time it takes for research discoveries to become treatments for patients, as well as to train the next generation of clinical researchers. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges serves and leads the academic medicine community, to improve the health of all patients throughout the world. AAMC bridges education, clinical care and research, with the specific goal of transforming health care.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit

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