Research opportunities for PhD students

Research is a cornerstone of the BME PhD program. Students are expected to select a research laboratory prior to their second year. Emphasis is placed on original research — leading to their doctoral dissertation.

All students are admitted with full fellowship that covers tuition, and provides a modest stipend for the duration of their PhD. Because students are fully funded, they can choose to perform their dissertation in essentially any laboratory in the University (subject to the approval of the program directors). A special program with the NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) allows students to also choose from research laboratories at the NIH.

Students typically do research rotations during the summer before start of the first academic semester, during the first year (typically as they are taking medical school courses), and during the following summer year. They are expected to choose a research laboratory before the start of the second academic year.

Emphasis is placed on original research leading to the doctoral dissertation. The research is usually experimental in nature, and students are expected to learn biological experimental techniques; nevertheless, experiment or theory can be emphasized in the research as desired by the student.

Research and Training Areas

Browse through the research section for details about each of these exciting areas.

View BME PhD program faculty by research area.

Biomedical Imaging

The human body can be imaged in scales from a single molecule to the whole body. These images allow physicians not only to see what a patient's organs look like, but also how they are functioning — even at the smallest dimensions.

Cell and Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering, one of the most exciting and rapidly growing areas in biomedical engineering, offers vast potential for changing traditional approaches to meeting many critical health care needs.

Computational Biology

  • Computational Genomics
  • Computation Informatics

New technologies for generating high throughput data are revolutionizing biomedical research. For example, the mRNA counts contained in gene microarrays provide a global view of cellular activity by simultaneously recording the expression levels of thousands of genes. And, new methods for measuring the expression of proteins in cells and tissues and mapping protein-protein interactions are providing rich sources of information for learning about disease mechanisms.

Computational Medicine

Computational Medicine is devoted to the development of quantitative approaches for understanding the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of human disease through applications of mathematics, engineering and computational science. The core approach of Computational Medicine is to develop computational models of the molecular biology, physiology, and anatomy of disease, and apply these models to improve patient care.

Molecular and Cellular Systems Biology

The human body’s 100 trillion cells perform most fundamental life functions. Understanding how molecules interact to produce these functions is a central biological challenge that holds the key to designing effective treatments for combating disease.

Systems Neuroscience and Neuroengineering

The brain is perhaps the greatest and most complicated learning system and exercises control over virtually every aspect of behavior. Investigators in this area share a common desire to produce quantitative models of information coding and processing in neural systems.

Students typically do research rotations for one year — beginning in the summer prior to the first academic semester. Selection of a research laboratory is expected prior to the second academic year.