Institute for Medicine and Engineering

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 the Schools of Medicine (SOM) and Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) to pursue opportunities for collaborative research. The IME has been successful in obtaining over $80 million in extramural grants, and funded programs. These include a research center in Cell Studies of Pulmonary Artery Hypertension, and a Penn Center for Molecular Discovery.

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 8 central investigators who span these disciplines in both schools, (ii) through the core facilities, pilot grant programs, research training, and educational events involving its very wide membership (of 106). 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 SOM 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.





Search results

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    The convergence of haemodynamics, genomics, and endothelial structure in studies of the focal origin of atherosclerosis
    (2002-04-01) Davies, Peter F; Shi, Congzhu; Polacek, Denise C; Shi, Congzhu; Helmke, Brian P
    The completion of the Human Genome Project and ongoing sequencing of mouse, rat and other genomes has led to an explosion of genetics-related technologies that are finding their way into all areas of biological research; the field of biorheology is no exception. Here we outline how two disparate modern molecular techniques, microarray analyses of gene expression and real-time spatial imaging of living cell structures, are being utilized in studies of endothelial mechanotransduction associated with controlled shear stress in vitro and haemodynamics in vivo. We emphasize the value of such techniques as components of an integrated understanding of vascular rheology. In mechanotransduction, a systems approach is recommended that encompasses fluid dynamics, cell biomechanics, live cell imaging, and the biochemical, cell biology and molecular biology methods that now encompass genomics. Microarrays are a useful and powerful tool for such integration by identifying simultaneous changes in the expression of many genes associated with interconnecting mechanoresponsive cellular pathways.
  • Publication
    Imaging Live Cells Under Mechanical Stress
    (2003-03-01) Davies, Peter F; Davies, Peter F
    Cellular responses to mechanical stimuli are implicated in the structural and functional adaptation of many tissues. For example, cellular mechanisms mediate bone and skeletal muscle remodeling during mechanical loading, lung function during ventilator-induced injury, hearing loss in the inner ear, and blood flow-mediated cardiovascular pathophysiology. Since much of our own work investigates vascular biomechanics, we will focus in this chapter on the techniques used to study vascular endothelial cells in vitro; however, similar techniques can be used to study other cell types.
  • Publication
    The Cytoskeleton Under External Fluid Mechanical Forces: Hemodynamic Forces Acting on the Endothelium
    (2002-03-01) Davies, Peter F; Davies, Peter F
    The endothelium, a single layer of cells that lines all blood vessels, is the focus of intense interest in biomechanics because it is the principal recipient of hemodynamic shear stress. In arteries, shear stress has been demonstrated to regulate both acute vasoregulation and chronic adaptive vessel remodeling and is strongly implicated in the localization of atherosclerotic lesions. Thus, endothelial biomechanics and the associated mechanotransduction of shear stress are of great importance in vascular physiology and pathology. Here we discuss the important role of the cytoskeleton in a decentralization model of endothelial mechanotransduction. In particular, recent studies of four-dimensional cytoskeletal motion in living cells under external fluid mechanical forces are summarized together with new data on the spatial distribution of cytoskeletal strain. These quantitative studies strongly support the decentralized distribution of luminally imposed forces throughout the endothelial cell.