IMPROVE NATIONAL RANKINGS IN RESEARCH:
APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES

The aging of the baby boom generation has spurred an unprecedented explosion in the health care and biomedical industries. The last half-century has seen an unparalleled explosion in new medical knowledge that can help to extend lifespan and to improve the quality of life. New scientific discoveries have also led to the creation of biomedical industries and health-related businesses. Read an article in NJIT Alumni Magazine on aging and biomedical engineering.

Experts say that the next ten years will see still more advances, with the development of new diagnostics and treatments for cancer, diabetes, stroke, and other diseases. Within two decades, we will see medical treatments tailored to the genetic makeup of each individual and doctors able to correct some genetic flaws.

. . . . . . . life sciences research at NJIT draws expertise from many disciplines . . . . . . . . .

Biomedical engineering and the applied life sciences is the university’s fastest-growing research concentration. Life sciences research at NJIT draws expertise from many disciplines -- biomedical engineering, biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and all the engineering specialties. New Jersey is home to some of the most exciting biomedical enterprises in the world, and NJIT is right in the middle of the activity. Opportunities for collaborative projects and multidisciplinary partnerships are plentiful.

One area that demonstrates how NJIT’s technological expertise can be applied to the health sciences is bioMEMS. Micro-electromechanical Systems (MEMS) -- microscopic machines that can perform a wide variety of functions as sensors, pumps and motors -- are becoming increasingly important tools in the biomedical arena. To attract more students to careers in BioMEMS research and manufacturing, William C. Hunter, professor and chairman of biomedical engineering,  has launched an intensive, 10-week introduction to the field. The program is supported by the NSF and NIH as part of a joint initiative in bioengineering and bioinformatics, which the agencies have identified as the "essential underpinning fields of the 21st century.”

Some projects of note include:

  • REGENERATING TISSUE WITH STEM CELLS: Treena Livingston Arinzeh, associate professor of biomedical engineering, won a prestigious NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers to support her work with adult stem cells. Read more.
  • ADVANCING CANCER DIAGNOSIS: To aid in the clinical diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, Timothy Chang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has developed a robotic technique for placing genetic material onto slides precisely, quickly and inexpensively. Read more.
  • IMPROVING TREATMENT FOR HYDROCEPHALUS: A team of NJIT researchers has developed a MEMS-based shunt to assist patients with hydrocephalus, an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricle cavities inside the brain. Read more.
  • DEVELOPING NOVEL BIOMATERIALS: Michael Jaffe, research professor of biomedical engineering, is developing biomaterials for medical use from corn derivatives. Read more.
  • DESIGNER SOLVENTS FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH: Ionic liquids, a new class of environmentally-safe solvents with a wide range of applications in biotechnology, medical science, and the pharmaceutical industry, are the specialty of Sanjay Malhotra, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental science. Read more.
  • REDUCING CARBON DIOXIDE IN BREATHING APPARATUS: Kamalesh Sirkar, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, is developing a new membrane-based apparatus to remove carbon dioxide from gas mixtures used in anesthesia. Read more.
  • OPTICAL IMAGING FOR CANCER DIAGNOSIS: Atam Dhawan, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering, has developed a new instrument for early detection of skin cancer. Read more.
  • REHABILITATION BY VIRTUAL REALITY: NJIT researchers collaborate with faculty at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to develop computer-based programs to help stroke patients regain mobility. Read more.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering also has a growing research concentration in neural engineering:

  • USING ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY: Richard Foulds and Sergei Adamovich, associate professors of biomedical engineering, are using virtual reality and robotics to help patients of stroke and cerebral palsy. Read more.
  • UNDERSTANDING BRAIN FUNCTION: Tara Alvarez, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is studying how the brain divides and controls its tasks to send and receive information. Read more.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences has a strong research initiative in mathematical biology:

  • STUDYING BLOOD FLOW: Daniel Goldman, assistant professor of mathematical sciences and biomedical engineering, uses realistic mathematical and computational models to study circulation, especially in small blood vessels and how they deliver oxygen to body tissue. Read more.
  • HOW THE NERVOUS SYSTEM WORKS: Jorge Golowasch, associate professor of mathematical sciences and biology, studies mechanisms that enable neurons to recover from disruptions due to growth, learning and injury. Read more.
  • CHARTING NEURAL RHYTHMS: Farzan Nadim, associate professor of mathematics, studies the nervous systems of crabs and lobsters to gain insights into neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Read more.
  • UNDERSTANDING NEURAL NETWORKS: New insight into short-term synaptic plasticity (STSP) – the ability of a synapse to change in strength based on how it is being used – is the goal of Amitabha Bose, associate professor of mathematical sciences. Read more.
  • IMPROVING MICROSCOPY: In a collaborative project supported by the National Institutes of Health, Assistant Professor Christopher Raymond is developing mathematical models for the process of immunocolloidal labeling, a process which enhances identification of molecules by electron microscopy. Read more.
  • ANALYZING CELL COMMUNICATION: Cyrill Muratov, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, is leading a study of cell communication networks in the development of fruit fly eggs. Supported by an NSF grant, the project is a collaboration among investigators combining mechanistic modeling, computational analysis, and experimental techniques of developmental genetics to understand the formation of biological blueprints in genetics.