The PhD in Biomedical Engineering program at WPI offers a friendly, innovative, and collaborative environment that encourages an entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll work closely with world-class faculty on cutting-edge research projects that combine engineering studies with many biomedical disciplines.

To support our passionate and innovative grad students, our resources back research in everything from new medical instruments to engineering cell-derived tissue to robotic devices. We make the program flexible and adaptable to your specific interests. The curriculum’s hands-on, boundary-pushing work positions you to lead original breakthrough research to help people live longer, healthier lives.

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Curriculum

Driven by relentless curiosity, our renowned faculty advance research every day. You’ll work with them to expand your own research and advisors will help you establish a personalized and solid foundation of studies.

PhD candidates complete two laboratory rotations (to familiarize themselves with different fields, concepts, and techniques) and a teaching requirement in order to pass a PhD qualifying exam. The program’s flexibility means you’ll gain experience by partnering with local industry or focusing your studies to fit your interests, like teaching or investigating a specific problem.

Engineering Human Blood Vessels

Research

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Being on the leading edge of research advances means you’ll think like a scientist, an engineer, an entrepreneur—all with technology in the forefront.
Being on the leading edge of research advances means you’ll think like a scientist, an engineer, an entrepreneur—all with technology in the forefront.

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Research laboratories at WPI’s Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park include a 124,600-square-foot space. These labs focus on non-invasive biomedical instrumentation design, signal processing, tissue biomechanics, biomaterials synthesis
Research laboratories at WPI’s Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park include a 124,600-square-foot space. These labs focus on non-invasive biomedical instrumentation design, signal processing, tissue biomechanics, biomaterials synthesis and characterization, myocardial regeneration, cell and molecular engineering, regenerative biosciences, and tissue engineering.

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Classroom knowledge is applied directly to real-world problems as faculty and students work side-by-side in labs, always striving for the next innovation in regenerative medicine, drug discoveries, tissue remodeling, medical imaging, or physiological m
Classroom knowledge is applied directly to real-world problems as faculty and students work side-by-side in labs, always striving for the next innovation in regenerative medicine, drug discoveries, tissue remodeling, medical imaging, or physiological monitoring.

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Successful collaborations with industry partners and significant funding for major research means our faculty and students have the resources to make discoveries that impact areas such as biomaterials and tissue engineering, biomechanics and mechanobio
Successful collaborations with industry partners and significant funding for major research means our faculty and students have the resources to make discoveries that impact areas such as biomaterials and tissue engineering, biomechanics and mechanobiology, and bioinstrumentation and signal processing.

Faculty Profiles

Featured Faculty

Kristen Billiar

Kristen Billiar

Professor and Department Head
Biomedical Engineering

Understanding the mechanisms by which mechanical forces regulate the development and healing of connective tissues and the pathogenesis of disease is becoming one of the foremost problems at the intersection of biomechanics and cell biology—it has spawned the field of mechanobiology. In our lab we use precisely engineered, two-dimensional and three-dimensional constructs as model systems to study the effects of external internal (cell-generated) forces on cell behavior, matrix biochemistry, and the biomechanics of soft tissues and biomaterials.

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Jeannine M Coburn

Jeannine M Coburn

Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering

The overall objectives of my research are to develop clinically translatable tissue regeneration and drug delivery strategies, and three-dimensional, in vitro human disease models using biologically-derived biomaterials. We will utilize techniques from engineering, chemistry and biology to address these research areas, including chemical modifications to alter drug-material interactions, small molecule and macromolecule conjugates to direct cell fate, and multi-cellular tissue/disease systems for paracrine signaling and direct cell-cell interactions.

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Glenn R. Gaudette

Glenn R. Gaudette

William Smith Dean's Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical Engineering

Glenn R. Gaudette, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from SUNY – Stony Brook. He has over 75 publications, co-edited a book on Cardiovascular Regeneration, has 4 issued patents and founded a company based on the technology developed in his laboratory. His research, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, aims to develop a treatment for the millions of Americans suffering from myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases.

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Songbai Ji

Songbai Ji

Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

The biomechanical mechanisms behind traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been an active research focus for more than 70 years. However, the field is still largely focused on impact kinematics or estimated brain responses in generic regions from single head impact to predict a binary brain injury status on a population basis. An important research focus in my lab is to integrate advanced neuroimaging into TBI biomechanics research to understand injuries to functionally important neural pathways. At the same time, we develop techniques to achieve near real-time response feedbacks.

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George D Pins

George D. Pins

Professor
Biomedical Engineering

The overall objective of my research is to create bioengineered scaffolds to enhance the regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. Specifically, my laboratory uses biomimetic design strategies and novel fabrication processes to develop three-dimensional constructs that emulate native tissue architecture and cellular microenvironments. We use these scaffolds to characterize the roles of extracellular matrix (ECM) cues and topographic features in modulating cellular functions, including adhesion, migration, proliferation, differentiation, and tissue remodeling.

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Marsha W. Rolle

Marsha Rolle

Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

In my research laboratory at WPI, teams of graduate and undergraduate students collaborate with researchers at WPI and the University of Massachusetts Medical School to design, fabricate, culture and analyze cell-based engineered vascular tissue.

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Karen Troy

Karen Troy

Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

The ability of our biological tissues to adapt to their mechanical environment, and the ways in which our tissues are well suited for their own mechanical role within the body, is a constant source of wonder to me. I am interested in understanding the mechanical signals that are experienced within the skeleton during different types of physical activity, understanding what features of these signals stimulate bone to adapt its structure, and in developing noninvasive methods to quantify bone strength.

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Catherine F. Whittington

Catherine F. Whittington

Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering

My research focuses on combining bio-instructive biomaterials with cells to design 3D tissue-engineered platforms for regenerative medicine, disease modeling, improved predictability of therapeutic outcomes, and as translatable technologies for clinic and industry.

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