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

Biomedical Imaging involves the measurement of spatio-temporal distributions over scales ranging from molecules to organs to whole populations. At its heart are principles of mathematics, physics, and the understanding of structure and function in biological systems, including data-intensive analysis and technologies spanning the spectrum of optics, ultrasound, X-ray/CT, MRI, and molecular imaging.

Computational Genomics

Computational Genomics uses the latest sequencing technology and advanced computational methods to study problems in biology and human health, including how genes cause disease, how genomes evolve, and how gene expression changes in response to different conditions within the cell. Bridging the fields of biomedical engineering, computer science, biology, and biostatistics, computational genomicists are designing novel algorithms that can handle the enormous data sets generated by modern sequencing experiments.

Computational Medicine

Computational Medicine aims to improve health care by developing computational models of disease, personalizing these models using data from patients, and applying these models to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Patient models are being used to predict and discover novel sensitive and specific risk biomarkers, predict disease progression, design optimal treatments, and discover novel drug targets. Applications include cardiovascular and neurological diseases and cancer.

Data Intensive Biomedical Science

Data Intensive Biomedical Science is developing new methods for analyzing large-scale biomedical data sets to understand how living systems function and to harness this knowledge in order to understand disease mechanisms and provide improved health care at lower costs.

Genomic-Epigenomic Engineering

Genomic-Epigenomic Engineering provides the latest technologies for reading, interpreting, and manipulating the genome. Researchers are working to understand how information in the human genome is used by the body. The Human Genome Project has given us the vocabulary of our genes, but epigenetics provides the new frontier of research investigating the layer of regulation of the genome that has profound implications for the treatment of disease and engineering of therapy.


Neuroengineering comprises fundamental, experimental, computational, theoretical, and/or quantitative research aimed at furthering our ability to understand and augment brain function in both health and disease across many orders of magnitude of spatiotemporal scales.

Regenerative and Immune Engineering

Regenerative and Immune Engineering holds promise to regrow, repair, and replace diseased cells, organs, and tissues. BME is leading an effort in regenerative and immune engineering that bridges discovery, innovation, and translation through basic sciences, engineering, and clinical endeavors.

Systems Biology

Systems Biology connects the information in our genome and epigenome and the function of biological systems, from cells to tissues and organs. Johns Hopkins researchers are developing new computational and experimental methods for systematic analysis of biological systems, building models that span scales of length and time, and using synthetic biology for de novo design of new biomedical systems. Among applications are cancer, cardiovascular, neurological, and infectious diseases.