Jan 21, 2021  
Rensselaer Catalog 2012-2013 
Rensselaer Catalog 2012-2013 [Archived Catalog]

Biomedical Engineering

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Department Head: Deepak Vashishth

Department Home Page:

Biomedical engineers are typically involved in research and design. They discover new knowledge that they apply to designing new engineering devices and systems for the fields of medicine and biology. Among the devices that biomedical engineering (BMED) has produced are noninvasive body imaging systems, critical-care monitoring instruments used in intensive care units, and a wide spectrum of implants, such as artificial joints, oral implants, and vascular grafts, all of which are used to replace diseased tissues. With new discoveries related to stem cells, genomics, and proteomics, BME is increasingly involved in cellular and molecular biology for basic research and design of new devices and technologies. Biomedical engineers are helping to advance the new field of tissue engineering. In this capacity, they use basic knowledge about the cellular/molecular processes of tissue regeneration to help design replacement tissues and organs. At Rensselaer, a key focus is functional tissue engineering, which encompasses the biology and engineering necessary to understand, characterize, synthesize, and shape the required mechanical and functional behavior of living tissues.

Founded upon a strong engineering base, the BMED curriculum combines significant life science content with courses that bring engineering solutions to medical needs. BMED students may select from a variety of concentrations to develop knowledge and skills in key areas of biomedical engineering including biomechanics, biomaterials, cell and tissue engineering, implant design, bioimaging, instrumentation, and computational analysis and modeling of biological systems.

Research Innovations and Initiatives

Musculoskeletal Engineering
The musculoskeletal well being of aging individuals is a key factor affecting quality of life. As medical advances continue to extend people’s lifespans, the need for musculoskeletal engineering becomes paramount. In response to this critical need, our faculty are investigating, modeling and/or regenerating bone, cartilage, intervertebral discs, muscle, tendon, ligament and skin. This program promotes musculoskeletal research and discovery from molecules to mice to humans. It brings together and prepares future musculoskeletal engineers with expertise in multiscale biomechanics, biomaterials, cell and tissue engineering, in vivo matrix injury models, stem cells and regenerative medicine, and proteomics..

Neural Engineering
Injuries and disease to the nervous system affect all age groups and cost billions of dollars every year in medical expenses and reduced quality of life. Using neurological engineering – a combination of neuroscience and engineering – faculty and students are developing new approaches to address the functional repair of both large-gap peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries. This program prepares engineers with training in the areas of cell and tissue engineering, molecular control of neurite guidance, complex multi-cellular models of injury and repair, proteomics, neural stem cells and rational biomaterial design.

Vascular Engineering
Vascular disease is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke worldwide. Our researchers are dedicated to development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents needed to alleviate the pain and suffering associated with these diseases. Faculty and their students are integrating bioengineering tools with vascular biology to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of vascular disease, and they are developing methods to guide blood vessel regeneration. Researchers apply multidisciplinary approaches from biomechanics, biomaterials, molecular imaging, cell and tissue engineering to study vascular development and disease at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels.

Multiscale Modeling and Imaging

Biomedical images provide the basis for visualizing cell and tissue structure. When coupled with mathematical and computational methods, bioimaging can quantitatively characterize the processes occurring in living systems. Such characterization makes possible the diagnosis of clinical conditions, the delivery and control of therapeutic interventions, and a way to evaluate the impact of treatments. Biomedical models rely on imaging data to capture physiologically realistic, 3-dimensional structures, movements, and behaviors. Research efforts in this area are devoted to mathematical modeling of physiological behaviors, capturing and using images, and synthesizing the information to increase our understanding of living systems and to provide new modalities for clinical diagnosis of disease.

Collaborative Institutions
Biomedical engineering research at Rensselaer involves three schools within the Institute and collaborations with Albany Medical College; Cleveland Clinic; Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY; Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston University; Benet Laboratories; University of Rochester Medical Center; Georgetown University Medical Center; University of Montreal; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX; Mayo Clinic; Center for Tissue Integrated Reconstruction; N.Y. Indiana University; Purdue University; The State University of New York at Stony Brook; Beth Israel Hospital; Harvard University; University of California at Santa Barbara; Pennsylvania State University; Hospital Edourd Harriot, Lyon France; The McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research, University of Calgary, Canada, Yale University.


Faculty *


Chrisey, D.—Ph.D (University of  Virginia); extracellular matrix and tissue engineering (Joint with Material Science and Engineering).

Cramer, S.—Ph.D. (Yale University); expert in the fields of Chromatographic Bioprocessing and Separation Science (Joint with Materials Engineering).

Dordick, J.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); enabling the efficient and selective interaction of biomolecules with synthetic nanoscale building blocks to generate functional assemblies (Joint with Chemical and Biological Engineering).

Dunn, S.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland and Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands); Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.

Garcia, A.—Ph.D.  Sr. Constellation Professor.

Hahn. J.—Ph.D.  (University of Texas at Austin) systems biology, modeling and control of complex dynamic systems, sensitivity analysis of nonlinear and uncertain systems, model reduction.

Linhardt, R.—Ph.D. (The Johns Hopkins University); Constellation Chair, Professor (Joint with Chemistry and Chemical Biology).

Vashishth, D.—Ph.D. (University of London, UK); in vitro/in vivo model systems to investigate modifications of bone matrix proteins and their relationships to fracture and bone biology. (Department Head).

von Maltzahn, W.W.—Ph.D. (University of Hannover, Germany) serving as Associate Vice President for Research.

Xu, G.X.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University); Multiscale human computing applications on radiation modeling. (Joint with Mechanical, Aeropspace, and Nuclear Engineering).

Associate Professors

De, S.—Ph.D. (Jadavpur University, India); computational mechanics, multiscale computations, haptics, soft  tissue mechanics, virtual reality-based surgical simulations and computer aided interventional planning. (Joint with Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering).

Hahn, M.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) scaffold-directed mesenchymal stem cell differentiation;  vascular tissue engineering; osteochondral regeneration; vocal fold tissue engineering.

Kotha, S.—Ph.D. (Rutgers University); research interests lie broadly in the area of developing novel multi-functional materials and devices to understand and control cell/ tissue function.

Plopper, G.—Ph.D. (Harvard University Medical School); extracellular matrix dependent cellular responses (human mesenchymal stem cells and breast cancer cells) including growth, differentiation and migration. (Joint with Biology).

Thompson, D.M.—Ph.D. (Rutgers University); quantitative and mechanistic examination of the microenvironment of the nervous system to promote functional repair following spinal cord and/or large-gap peripheral nerve injury.

Yacizi, B.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); Statistical signal and image processing pattern recognition, inverse problems in medical imaging. (Joint with Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering).

Assistant Professors 

Cooper, J.A. Jr.Ph.D. (Drexel University); biomaterials; regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, stem cell biology, bioimaging, bioreactors, and biosensors.

Corr, D.Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin); wound healing and biomechanics in orthopaedic soft tissue, muscle mechanics and modeling and cell-based tissue engineering.

Dai, G.Ph.D.  (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); cardiovascular biomechanics and vascular biology; role of biomechanical forces in cardiovascular disease processes; 3-D cell printing technology for stem cells and tissue engineering applications.

Gilbert, R.Ph.D.(University of Michigan) research focus shifted towards the development of novel biomaterial constructs for tissue repair.

Intes, X.Ph.D. (Universite de Bretagne Occidentale – France); biophotonics and biomedical instrumentation. Research is on functional imaging of the breast and brain, fusion with other modalities, and fluorescence molecular imaging.

Ledet, E.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); complex in vitro and in vivo models to define the role of biomechanics in degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Wan, L.Q.—Ph.D. (Columbia University) cell chirality; BioMEMS; stem cell mechano-biology; functional tissue engineering; cartilage biomechanics and bioimaging.

Research Faculty

Mehta, S.—Ph.D. (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center); biotechnology management and entrepreneurship. (Research Assistant Professor).

Spilker, R.L.—Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); development of computational methodologies and computer simulation tools for the mathematical modeling of physiological function to solve complex biomedical problems.

Affiliated Faculty

Cheney, M.—Ph.D. (Indiana University); professor of mathematical sciences; applied mathematics, differential equations, mathematical computed tomography.

Isaacson, D.
—Ph.D. (New York University); professor of mathematics and computer science; electric current computed tomography.

Adjunct Faculty

Janeiro, C.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

Monastersky, G.—Ph.D. (Rutgers University and UMDNJ) research interests have included human embryonic stem cell biology, mammalian gene regulation and expression, transgenic animal disease models, cancer cell biology, pharmacogenomics and reproductive biology.

Reisman, S.S.—Ph.D. (Polytechnic Institute of New York); bioinstrumentation; retired Professor of Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Schalk, G.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); brain-computer interface research; Research Scientist V, Wadsworth Center, NYS Health Department.

Uhl, R.M.D. (Jefferson Medical College); hand and upper extremity surgery, trauma surgery; education methods, fracture fixation, fracture healing; Orthopaedic Residency Program Director - Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Albany Medical College.

Vincent, P.A.Ph.D. (Albany Medical College); regulation of endothelial cell function by adherens junctions, vascular biology; Professor and Associate Director and Graduate Director – The Center for Cardiovascular Science, Albany Medical College.

Emeritus Faculty

Bizios, R.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); cellular bioengineering, cell/biomaterial interactions, biomaterials.

Brunski, J.—Ph.D. (Stanford University). 

Newell, J.C.—Ph.D. (Albany Medical College); cardiopulmonary physiology, systems modeling, impedance imaging.

Ostrander, L.E. —Ph.D. (University of Rochester); information processing, biomedical signal analysis, human factors in medical equipment design.

Roy, R.J.—M.D. (Albany Medical College), D.Eng.Sci. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); systems physiology, digital signal processing, pattern recognition.

Spilker, R.L.—Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); development of computational methodologies and computer simulation tools for the mathematical modeling of physiological function to solve complex biomedical problems.

Zelman, A.
—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); membrane transport phenomena, food processing.

* Departmental faculty listings are accurate as of the date generated for inclusion in this catalog. For the most up-to-date listing of faculty positions, including end-of-year promotions, please refer to the Faculty Roster section of this catalog, which is current as of the May 20123 Board of Trustees meeting.

Undergraduate Programs

Department Mission
To educate the biomedical engineering leaders of tomorrow who will apply fundamental engineering principles to the responsible solution of problems in biology and medicine, to contribute to human disease management, and to bring engineering innovation and technology to the clinic while creating knowledge and enhancing global prosperity.

Objectives of the  Undergraduate Curriculum

Graduates of the Department of Biomedical Engineering will:

  • be engaged in professional practice or be enrolled in high quality advanced academic or industrial training programs. 

  • function in a technically competent manner to address challenges in biomedical engineering, medicine, and biology. 

  • contribute to and lead multidisciplinary teams in industrial, academic, and clinical environments. 

  • be engaged in the design of biomedical products, processes, and systems within the context of ethical, societal, and environmental factors. 

  • be engaged in life-long learning that expands their knowledge and appreciation of global contemporary professional issues and practices. 

Students may achieve these objectives through completion of the baccalaureate program leading to the B.S. degree. To ensure selection of the appropriate concentration and courses to meet individual interests and goals, students should consult their academic adviser as early as possible.  The Biomedical Engineering Program at Rensselaer is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700.

Graduate Programs

The department offers programs leading to M.S., D.Eng., and Ph.D. degrees. Persons seeking admission to any of these graduate degree programs in biomedical engineering should have their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test scores sent to the Graduate Admissions Office. For further information on the GREs, write to Graduate Record Examinations, Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08541.

Doctoral Programs

Matriculation into the doctoral program is based upon prior demonstration of a high level of academic achievement in graduate and/or undergraduate work. Advanced study and research are conducted under the guidance of a faculty member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and an interdisciplinary committee. A total of 72 credits (30 course work credits and 42 credits of research) satisfies the Department’s and the Institute’s residency and thesis requirements. A maximum of eight credits at the 4000 level (a maximum of two courses) may be applied to the 30 coursework requirement, with the remainder of the courses at the 6000 level. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better to meet the Institute’s requirements. These requirements are formalized in a Plan of Study that is prepared in consultation with the student’s research adviser.

Please note that students have no more than seven years to complete their Ph.D. Students who entered the program with a Master’s have no more than five years to complete their Ph.D.

The minimum course work requirements are distributed as follows:


Credit hours


Advanced Mathematics or Statistics                                3-4             (1 course)  

Advanced Life Sciences                                                 3-4              (1 course)
(Advanced Biology or Advanced Physiology) 

Technical Depth Courses                                               21             (6-7 courses)
Technical Depth Development Courses                           18              (6 courses)
and Professional Development Course                              3              (1 course)
(minimum of 3 courses should have the prefix BMED)

Advanced laboratory techniques                                    3-4             (1 course)

          Total                                                                           30


Course Descriptions

Courses directly related to all Biomedical Engineering curricula are described in the Course Description section of this catalog under the department codes BMED, CHME, ECSE, MTLE, and MANE.

Elective courses can be chosen from a recommended list of BME courses and other engineering and/or science courses at Rensselaer in consultation with the adviser.

For a detailed listing of approved courses in advanced mathematics, statistics, life sciences, laboratory techniques, and engineering depth, see the BMED Web site at www.bme.rpi.edu.

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