Northeastern's new interdisciplinary PhD program in bioengineering is headed up by mechanical and industrial engineering professor Jeff Ruberti, pictured here. Photo by Craig Bailey.
October 2, 2009
Reaffirming Northeastern’s commitment to interdisciplinary education, the College of Engineering is offering a new PhD program in bioengineering. The coursework will merge areas of biosciences and engineering, including nanotechnology, biochemistry, mechanics, imaging and biocomputing.
Headed up by Jeff Ruberti, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, the program will prepare students for high-level careers in research and medical laboratories, industrial organizations, and academic institutions.
“There is tremendous opportunity in bioengineering,” says Yaman Yener, associate dean and director of graduate programs at Northeastern’s College of Engineering. “We hope that our program will spur a new generation of bioengineers who can take on complex issues in health and science by applying scientific discoveries to engineering processes”
After completing the core curriculum in basic bioengineering, students can pursue one of six immersion tracks:
• bioimaging and signal processing (used to extract information from MRIs)
• biomechanics and mechanobiology (that aid in understanding the root cause of diseases like osteoarthritis)
• bioMEMs/bioNano (leading to devices that use small volumes of blood to detect disease)
• biochemical/bioenvironmental engineering (to help scientists understand how drugs are released from implantable devices)
• motor control (to aid in building rehabilitative devices)
• biocomputing (used to make computational models of biological systems)
The program is flexible, too, allowing students to design their own track under the supervision of a faculty member.
Students will be working with university faculty on various projects, including: engineering biological solutions to correct the amount of chemical contaminants in rivers and streams; researching how nanotechnology can impact rehabilitation robotics; and constructing human corneas through tissue engineering.
“In designing the program, we examined the strengths of Northeastern and determined what a bioengineer should be,” says Ruberti. “We have no doubt that students who graduate from the program will be well prepared to compete for the top academic appointments and industry positions available.”
The interdisciplinary approach to the program draws on the expertise of more than 90 faculty members from the College of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. It is expected to take from four to six years to complete.
“Bio-inspired engineering has the potential to transform the technological landscape,” adds Ruberti. “Our students will be trained to appreciate advances in bioengineering across a wide range of disciplines.