Chair: Valerie J. Leppert, firstname.lastname@example.org
The engineering sciences are undergoing a vast and fundamental metamorphosis from isolated disciplines to more integrative and multidisciplinary topics. The approved emphasis in BEST under the Individual Graduate Program (IGP) offers Masters of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in the synergistic areas of Biological Engineering and Materials Engineering with specializations in diverse themes. Research projects are available on topics ranging from fundamental characterization of materials to tissue engineering, and coursework will provide a background in the tools and integration of modern materials.
Our faculty and staff take pride in combining exceptional teaching with state-of-the-art research to advance the education and research of this rapidly maturing discipline. Our researchers are actively participating both within and beyond the university community to apply biotechnology principles to the solutions of essential medical, technological, and societal challenges.
The doctoral degree is granted to students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and have given evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field. The degree also signifies that the recipient has critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis as demonstrated by a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study. The doctoral student will complete a variety of coursework tailored to his or her specific area of study. Research and publication efforts will also be a primary focus of the individual doctoral training program. Funding is usually provided for doctoral students in the form of fellowships, training grants, teaching assistantships or research assistantships.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Core Knowledge – Graduates will possess the fundamental knowledge needed to understand and critically evaluate current research literature in their chosen field of biological engineering, materials science and engineering, and micro/nanotechnology
- Research Competency – Graduates will have the skill and knowledge to:
- (M.S. graduates) Be proficient in laboratory and/or theoretical techniques necessary to contribute to knowledge in their chosen field, under appropriate supervision and in the context of a M.S. thesis or project
- (Ph.D. graduates) Independently identify new research opportunities, plan effective strategies for pursuing these opportunities, and conduct research that makes a new contribution to knowledge in their chosen field
- Communication Skills - Graduates will be adept at oral and written communication of research results in their field to expert and non-expert audiences
- Ethics - Graduates will understand and promulgate the importance of research and professional ethics, and maintaining the trust of governmental and non-governmental scientific organizations, professional colleagues, and the public
Best Research Themes Include:
The area of tissue engineering is, by nature, cross disciplinary in that it employs cell culture methods combined with identification and development of appropriate materials, scaffolding architecture, technologies for cell delivery and nutrient transport strategies while also synergizing with nanobioengineering and bio-inspired materials.
Nature’s materials, structures, and devices provide stimulating examples of how engineers might optimize materials synthesis, assembly and processing strategies. Our efforts at biomimicry encompass a number of lessons from the natural world.
This theme includes fluorescence optical imaging, x-ray imaging, and nuclear medicine imaging. Construction of imaging instrumentation and development of imaging process algorithms also are possible areas of research. Applications include cancer imaging and drug delivery monitoring in small animals, including detection of diseases.
Biological Modeling and Control
Biological modeling and control is an interdisciplinary research area combining the fields of engineering, cell biology, and chemistry. Examples include the design of components for biomedical devices and tissue engineering and chemical optimization of molecules with biological properties.
Physiological Engineering is an area of bioengineering that focuses on the development and implementation of instruments and techniques to evaluate the function of biological systems at the tissue, cellular and molecular level. This area includes bioelectronics, modern non linear optical techniques, molecular biology, spectroscopy, electrophysiology, single molecule detection and genetic engineering techniques to evaluate central paradigms and hypotheses in bioengineering.
Biosensor Design and Fabrication
This theme includes sensors and “bots” that can replace defective physiological counterparts in humans and animals; implants and prosthetics constructed from nanocomposites that closely resemble natural tissue; and biosensors, which can be designed to nanodimensions, mounted on a single chip and used in remote diagnoses.
Rational synthesis and self-assembly of complex inorganic nanoscale building blocks using macromolecules, such as block copolymer templates, are being investigated in this highly interdisciplinary research area. Structure and properties are characterized by advanced techniques. Using a multidisciplinary approach, experimental investigation and theoretical simulations, a comprehensive design guideline for creating new materials with novel properties is being established.
New hybrid materials, such as smart materials that can easily recognize and respond to external stimuli, are being designed and synthesized. Innovative devices are being fabricated to harness their unique properties for a myriad of applications ranging from harvesting energy, to monitoring the environment, to detecting diseases.