Creating Biological Technologies, from Discovery to Design
Defining and establishing a new discipline fusing molecular life sciences with engineering.
The Department of Biological Engineering was founded in 1998 as a new MIT academic unit, with the mission of defining and establishing a new discipline fusing molecular life sciences with engineering. The goal of this biological engineering discipline is to advance fundamental understanding of how biological systems operate and to develop effective biology-based technologies for applications across a wide spectrum of societal needs including breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, in design of novel materials, devices, and processes, and in enhancing environmental health. Our departmental epigram is 'Creating Biological Technologies, from Discovery to Design', designating our intertwined emphases on advances in basic bioscience and in applied biotechnology. The innovative educational programs created by BE reflect this emphasis on integrating molecular and cellular biosciences with a quantitative, systems-oriented engineering analysis and synthesis approach, offering opportunities at the undergraduate level for the SB in Biological Engineering and at the graduate level for the PhD in either Applied Biosciences or Bioengineering. BE also partners with the departments of Biology and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science to jointly offer a PhD in Computational & Systems Biology, and with the departments of Biology and Civil & Environmental Engineering to jointly offer a PhD in Microbiology. Research opportunities for BE undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates abound across an exciting landscape of interdisciplinary laboratories, centers, and initiatives, including the Center for Biomedical Engineering, the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, the Center for Emergent Behavior of Integrative Cellular Systems, the Center for Gynepathology Research, the Synthetic Biology Center, and the Division of Comparative Medicine. Graduate students in the BE PhD programs can participate in the NIGMS Biotechnology Tra
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