The mission of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME) is to stimulate fundamental research at the interface between biomedicine and engineering/physical/computational sciences leading to innovative applications in biomedical research and clinical practice. The IME was created in 1996 by a mandate from the Trustees of the University to bring together the Schools of Medicine (SOM) and Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) to pursue opportunities for collaborative research. The IME has been successful in obtaining well over $40 million in extramural grants, and funded programs including a 12-position NIH interdisciplinary training grant and a large NIH partnership grant (BRP) for Cell and Molecular Studies in Cardiovascular Engineering.
Membership: The Institute houses 11 core faculty, 6 from the School of Medicine and 5 from SEAS, who were recruited to form the basis for the IME; however, the Institute extends beyond the core group to include 106 members from various schools including School of Medicine, SEAS and Arts and Sciences faculty. The Institute interacts with 24 other Centers or departments.
Multi-disciplinary Research: The IME mission to foster research at the interface of medicine and engineering is met (i) through the 11 central investigators who span these disciplines and serve as role models for faculty in both schools, (ii) through the core facilities, pilot grant programs, research training, and educational events involving its very wide membership. The research conducted by central investigators is quite broad, ranging from cell and molecular biology to tissue engineering, biophysics and nanobiology/medicine. Having established a strong basic research foundation the Institute is now expanding translational programs in medicine and engineering.
Strategic Importance: The IME relates directly to 3 major themes of the Research Strategic Plan: Cancer, Neurosciences and Cardiovascular Biology. The University Strategic Plan identifies the link between engineering and medicine as one of the key drivers of success and recommends “fostering advances in engineering, computing, chemistry, mathematics and behavioral sciences that can be applied to life sciences.” Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the Institute, it is well positioned to take advantage of the new NIH roadmap. Because of its unique interface with SEAS the IME is a strong force in faculty retention by providing unique directions and connections for research among faculty.
Education: IME core faculty lecture in the School of Medicine medical student courses, BGS Graduate courses, and Bioengineering department graduate and undergraduate courses and have representative membership in most graduate programs. The IME also leads a cross-school Clinical Preceptorship course for Bioengineering undergraduate students (BE400).
Core Facilities: The IME provides the following cores in the Vagelos Building: the Atomic Force Microscopy facility, the Optical Microscopy facility including Deconvolution Microscope, the Molecular Biology and Genomics facility (QRT-PCR, Biochip instrument, RNA amplification array technology), the Radioactive labeling room and biohazardous waste disposal, and the Protein array biotechnology core.
Faculty Development and Mentoring: Within the School of Medicine, the IME provides mentorship for faculty in interdisciplinary grant preparation. The IME provides training in the procedures and methodologies of biomedical research to SEAS trainees, and computational, physical, and engineering training to biomedical trainees, including Clinical Fellows.
Administration of Grants and Space: The IME administers most grants for the School of Medicine central faculty members; however, grants held by the SEAS members are administered through SEAS. The IME has 9,200 net square feet of dedicated research space in the Vagelos Building.