Research Areas

Biofabrication and Biomanufacturing

Biofabrication explores the use of traditional and novel material fabrication and processing techniques (e.g., cellular bioprinting, electrospinning, 3D printing) to create scaffolds and engineered constructs for advanced biologic models, tissues, and organs, for medical and non-medical biologic applications. The great flexibility of biofabrication approaches make them particularly attractive for engineering complex tissues, tissue surrogates, or multi-tissue systems, with a variety of applications in areas such as tissue engineering and in vitro diagnostics. In biomanufacturing, biologic systems are utilized to produce products, such as biomolecules and biomaterials, of commercial or clinical importance. Biomanufacturing research typically explores developing products for food and drug applications, as well as novel biologic-based methods for industrial manufacturing.

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Biomedical Imaging and Image Analytics

Biomedical imaging produces internal images of patients, animals or tissue samples for basic research, preclinical and clinical applications. Biomedical imaging at RPI focus on cutting-edge x-ray, optical tomographic imaging, multi-modality imaging, image formation and analysis as well as artificial intelligence / machine learning methods. Research and training involve the entire process from innovation, instrumentation, to validation for real-world applications. Close collaborative ties have been formed with leading medical schools, and with industrial partners such as the GE Global Research Center, enabling translational impact.

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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. 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 including drug development and delivery, proteomics, and tissue engineering.

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Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

The musculoskeletal well-being of aging individuals is a key factor affecting quality of life. As medical advances continue to extend people’s lifespans, diseases of the musculoskeletal system are a significant threat to independence and lifestyle. Thus, a better understanding of the mechanobiology and biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system are key for the development of better therapeutic approaches, engineered tissues, and medical devices which target degenerated or injured tissues. In response to this critical need, Rensselaer 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 tissues to animals to humans. We bring together and prepare future biomedical engineers with expertise in multiscale biomechanics, biomaterials, cell and tissue engineering, in vivo models, stem cells and regenerative medicine, and proteomics.

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Systems Biology and Health Care Analytics

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 which can lead to precision medicine approaches to tailor treatments to individuals. Health care analytics makes use of similar Big Data approaches as systems biology, but the focus is on extracting knowledge about diseases and intervention strategies from extremely large data sets such as those maintained by hospitals and health care providers.

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Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Tissue engineering combines cells, bioactive components, and/or biomaterials with the primary goal of regenerating diseased or damaged tissues. A secondary area of this diverse field includes generating in vitro tissue models of diseases toward development and screening of new therapeutic interventions. From a tissue repair perspective, tissue engineering at Rensselaer focuses on cartilage/bone repair and brain and spinal cord regeneration while musculoskeletal and neurodegenerative diseases are the focus from a disease model perspective.

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