Areas of Research

At WPI, researchers are innovators and educators who are working on solutions to the world’s great problems. Purpose-driven research at WPI focuses on four key areas that highlight the technical and societal intersections of these global challenges: the life sciences, smart technologies changing the way we live and work, materials and manufacturing processes designed for a more sustainable world, and global initiatives.  

Off-Road Autonomous Vehicles

Professor Vladimir Vantsevich and Professor of Practice Lee Moradi are taking autonomous vehicle technology off road to develop rugged systems capable of rolling across farms, construction sites, disaster zones, military theaters, and even other planets. 

Nurses and Robots

Amid a national shortage of nursing professionals, Assistant Professor Jane Li is leading development of a user-friendly robot that could help nurses care for patients in health care facilities in the US and other countries.  

Mysteries of Cell Division

How does one cell divide into two? Associate Professor Amity Manning is uncovering that process in her lab, making discoveries with implications for diseases such as cancer. Every discovery helps improve lives. 

Better Medicine

Professor Suzanne Scarlata examines the cellular mechanisms that determine how and why individuals respond differently to a drug, addressing a critical problem in health care. The implications of her research have many applications. 

Concrete Solutions

Concrete is everywhere, and its production and deterioration contribute to global carbon dioxide production and waste. Associate Professor Nima Rahbar is working on solutions to make concrete more durable and sustainable. 

A Bright Forecast | Climate Change 

In WPI laboratories, researchers are producing innovations that will help the world sustainably and successfully adapt to a changing climate. Materials that will improve the storage of hydrogen fuel and that will create a low-emission, self-healing substitute for concrete are in development. Researchers are exploring processes that turn unconventional products, like bamboo, into fuel and those that transform the recycling of lithium-ion batteries.  

The Future of Work | Tech and the Digital Future 

From computer chips to robots, WPI researchers are showing how humans can work smarter, faster, and safer. Experts are developing ways to secure cyber networks from intruders, analyze the weaknesses of integrated circuits, build robots to assist humans with diverse tasks in health care, and improve learning and education. 

Healthcare | Starting at the Molecular Level 

WPI researchers are exploring the fundamental mechanisms of life to expand knowledge about human diseases and how to treat them. Laboratory discoveries combined with computational analysis are illuminating the workings of everything from chromosomes to viruses, fungi, and bacteria. 

Worcester Origins | Global Impact Goals 

True advances start with partnerships and with identifying the real problems that matter to people. WPI researchers work with each other and with community partners around the globe to co-create approaches to the issues of concern to the people living in those locations. With different yet balanced perspectives, teams arrive at solutions that will work with the resources and culture of communities. As they solve authentic problems, teams create value with their work.   

Research Areas

BioPoint: Driving Innovation in Human Health and Healthcare Systems

The BioPoint team is dedicated to identifying key areas of collaboration with industry and government partners to advance research and development in the life sciences, bioengineering, and biomedical engineering. WPI is particularly well-positioned to help deliver positive outcomes to our partners. 


Smart World: The Intersection of the Physical, Digital, and Biological Worlds

The numbers of smart devices and services in the world are rapidly expanding and changing how people will live and work. This pace of progress brings both opportunities and challenges, and it requires the focus of experts in areas such as data science, robotics, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, interactive media and game development, learning sciences and technology, bioinformatics, computational biology, neuroscience/engineering, architectural engineering, and smart design.  


MatR: Materials Reimagined: Connecting the Industries of Today and Tomorrow

With its rich history and strengths in manufacturing and materials, WPI continues to play a pivotal role in a new advanced manufacturing revolution that is moving far beyond stainless steels and nickel-based alloys. New ideas, talent, technologies, and expertise in areas like nanomaterials, energy, and synthetic biology are required to help build a stronger, more sustainable, and globally competitive manufacturing sector. 


Global Initiatives: A Hub for Global Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies

WPI is building on its long tradition of addressing the major social, technological, ecological, and economic challenges facing people around the world with technological and scientific knowledge. Shifting social, developmental, and cultural contexts require a transformation of research and education on a global scale and the continual development of STEM scholars and leaders who can respond to these increasingly complex and diverse global issues.