Department Head: Juergen Hahn
Department Home Page: http://bme.rpi.edu
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
Biomolecular Science and Engineering
Biomolecular science is one area in the life sciences which focuses on the understanding of cellular processes at the molecular level and modifications of extracellular matrix (ECM). Developing an understanding and using this knowledge for manipulating cell and matrix processes in order to predict, prevent or ameliorate medical conditions are key components of biomolecular science and engineering. Research in biomolecular science deals with applications ranging from drug development and delivery, proteomics, to tissue engineering.
Biomedical imaging produces internal images of patients, animals or tissue samples for basic research, preclinical and clinical applications. The focuses are on x-ray and optical tomographic imaging, multi-modality techniques, and their utilities of fundamental, translational and healthcare significance. Research and training involve the entire process from innovation, instrumentation, to validation for real-world impact. We have close collaborative ties with medical schools, and are in strong academic-industrial partnerships such as with the GE Global Research Center.
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. We bring together and prepare 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.
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.
Systems Biology and Biocomputation
Systems biology is the coordinated study of biological systems, at the cellular, organ, or whole body level, which aims at achieving a systems-level understanding of biological processes. Systems biology lies at the interface of engineering, computer science, and molecular/cell biology and involves sophisticated computational and high-throughput experimental approaches. One of the key outcomes of systems biology is the development of biomedical models describing the system. These models can be used to test hypotheses in silico, or to design drug targets or intervention strategies.
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.
Cramer, S.—Ph.D. (Yale University); expert in the fields of chromatographic bioprocessing and separation science (Joint with Materials Engineering).
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).
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. (Cornell University) Sr. Constellation Professor. (Joint with Physics; Applied Physics and Astronomy).
Gross, R.—Ph.D. (Polytechnic University) Chair, Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering (Joint with Chemistry and Chemical Biology).
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 (Department Head).
Linhardt, R.—Ph.D. (The Johns Hopkins University); Constellation Chair, Professor (Joint with Chemistry and Chemical Biology).
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).
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.
von Maltzahn, W.W.—Ph.D. (University of Hannover, Germany) serving as Associate Vice President for Research.
Wang, G.—Ph.D. (State University of New York at Buffalo) Biomedical imaging, x-ray computed tomography, optical molecular tomography, omni-tomography, other inverse problems, and informetrics.
Xu, G.X.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University); Multiscale human computing applications on radiation modeling. (Joint with Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering).
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).
Corr, D.—Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin); wound healing and biomechanics in orthopaedic soft tissue, muscle mechanics and modeling and cell-based tissue engineering.
Gilbert, R.—Ph.D.(University of Michigan) research focus shifted towards the development of novel biomaterial constructs for tissue repair.
Hahn, M.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) scaffold-directed mesenchymal stem cell differentiation; vascular tissue engineering; osteochondral regeneration; vocal fold tissue engineering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cooper, J.A. Jr.—Ph.D. (Drexel University); biomaterials; regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, stem cell biology, bioimaging, bioreactors, and biosensors.
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.
Wan, L.Q.—Ph.D. (Columbia University) cell chirality; BioMEMS; stem cell mechano-biology; functional tissue engineering; cartilage biomechanics and bioimaging.
Professor of Practice
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.
Schumer, D.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).
Cong, W.—Ph.D. (Beijing Univ. of Sci. and Tech., - China): Optical Imaging.
Janeiro, C.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).
Mehta, S.—Ph.D. (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center); biotechnology management and entrepreneurship.
Padfield, D.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); GE Global Research Center.
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.
Bizios, R.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); cellular bioengineering, cell/biomaterial interactions, biomaterials.
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.
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 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.
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 Biomedical Engineering Program will within five years of graduation:
- be engaged in professional practice in industry, academia, or government related to biomedical engineering; and/or
- have enrolled in an academic program pursuing a graduate, medical, law, business, or other professional post-graduate degree
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 ABET, http://www.abet.org.
Graduate Degree Programs
Biomedical Engineering M.Eng., M.S., Ph.D.
The department offers programs leading to Master (M.S./M.Eng.) and Ph.D. degrees, each of which is tailored to fulfill the varying educational needs of its graduate students. Both programs offer the students a significant amount of additional breadth and depth over a B.S. degree. The coursework requirements for a Ph.D. and a Master degree are similar, but the Ph.D. program involves a substantially larger amount of research than the M.S./M.Eng. program.
Master degrees commonly require 1-1.5 years to complete while students usually spend 4-5 years in the PhD program. It is not required to have completed a Master degree prior to obtaining a Ph.D. Admissions requirements are the same for all graduate programs.
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 http://bme.rpi.edu/.