Bioengineers at Princeton achieve far-reaching impact by answering fundamental questions about how living systems work while bringing an engineering approach to solving real-world problems. The expansion of bioengineering at Princeton, reflected in the founding of the bioengineering initiative and a planned BioE facility, offers growing opportunities for collaboration with industry, government, and nonprofit partners.
Bioengineering at Princeton took a major step forward in November 2020, when the Bioengineering Initiative was formally launched with Clifford Brangwynne as director. The initiative was formed to "support and expand the bioengineering activities already underway at the University, and ignite new directions in research, education and innovation at the intersection of the life sciences and engineering."
At the time of the launch, Andrea Goldsmith, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering, said, “Bioengineering is one of the most exciting frontiers in engineering, with unlimited potential for positive impact on health, medicine and quality of life. This initiative will greatly increase our delivery of innovations, consistent with our mission to develop research and technology that benefits humanity, while also creating wonderful education opportunities for students.”
Brangwynne, June K. Wu '92 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and winner of the 2023 Breakthrough Prize for his contributions to the study of living cells, took the helm in envisioning the transformative synergy between bioengineering and a broad cross-section of Princeton’s research activities. These include biomedical devices and other technologies that interface with biological systems; data science approaches in biology and medicine; and biomolecular, cellular and tissue engineering for human health. These efforts will both depend upon and help find answers to the vast number of open questions about how biological systems work and interact.
“The world needs problem-solvers in the life sciences space,” Brangwynne said. “Just look around us. Our whole world has been turned upside down by a nanometer-sized particle of biological matter that has swept across the globe and killed a million people. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example. Think about cancer, dementia — these are diseases that have devastating effects in society. The Princeton Bioengineering Initiative is all about bringing an engineering mindset to face these challenges. Engineers are problem solvers.”
Among the problem-solvers involved in the initiative are faculty from departments as diverse as molecular biology, mechanical and aerospace engineering, computer science, genomics, electrical and computer engineering and ecology and evolutionary biology.
Learn more about the work of the Bioengineering Initiative.
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