Research Areas in Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is multidisciplinary, bringing together expertise in engineering, physics, materials science, computation, biology, and medicine to increase our understanding of diseases, improve diagnosis, and develop treatments that benefit human health. Today, our researchers are pushing the boundaries of science and technology, developing new tools and techniques to help solve some of the most challenging problems in medicine and healthcare.

Research in our department covers a spectrum of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, orthopedics, neurology, optics, and regenerative medicine. Uniquely situated on a campus with access to one of the top-20 hospitals in the country, a veterinary school, and cutting-edge research centers, our faculty and graduate students have the opportunity to collaborate with peers across the university.

Research centers

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID)

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) was created in 2010 to explore new ways of generating innovation in science and engineering. Since opening in 2010, the Institute has been awarded and administered more than $22 million in grant funding from a variety of foundations and agencies to continue pursuing research collaborations with the Morgridge Institute for Research, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the State of Wisconsin, and more.

Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR)

The Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR) is a private, nonprofit research institute working in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to improve human health through innovative, interdisciplinary biomedical discoveries, spark scientific curiosity and serve society through translational outcomes.

Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR)

The Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) has embraced a new way of doing science since its opening in 2008. In this new mode, traditional research silos become obsolete, as basic, translational and clinical scientists—in cancer, imaging, neuroscience, surgery, and cardiovascular and regenerative medicine—work together to move discoveries quickly from bench to bedside and into the community.

In addition to its three interdisciplinary research towers, WIMR neighbors the UW Health Sciences Learning Center, the UW Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing, and the UW Hospital and Clinics and American Family Children’s Hospital—making it well-positioned for easy interactions between WIMR scientists, their health sciences colleagues, practicing clinicians, and the patients whose lives they hope to improve.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC)

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center is recognized throughout the Midwest and the nation as one of the leading innovators in cancer research, quality patient care, and active community involvement: it is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute.

UWCCC’s location in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) allows researchers to work with scientists from other disciplines, speeding the transfer of cutting-edge science to patients.

Quantitative Biology Initiative (QBI)

Technological innovations have revolutionized the scale and detail with which biological systems can be explored. With that revolution comes a new demand for scientists who transcend biological and computational sciences to seamlessly integrate complex datasets into quantitative and predictive models of biological systems.

To address this need, the Quantitative Biology Initiative (QBI) at UW-Madison is training the next generation of scientists who will work at the interface of computational, statistical, and quantitative biology. The QBI represents a university-wide initiative that brings together students and faculty from diverse departments and utilizes an exceptional level of inter-departmental collaboration at UW-Madison to provide students outstanding training opportunities in interdisciplinary, collaborative research.

Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI)

The Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI) is a biophotonics instrumentation laboratory stemming from the research activities of its director and founder, Kevin Eliceiri, and LOCI collaborators. Their mission is to develop advanced optical and computational techniques for imaging and experimentally manipulating living specimens.

New and improved imaging instrumentation and optical-based experimental techniques are being developed. These projects are driven by demands arising from the scientific studies of external collaborators and the principal investigators and opportunities that arise with the emergence of new technology. Instrumentation development is undertaken in a form that is both accessible and beneficial to the scientific community.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC)

Since the first successful culturing of embryonic stem cells from non-human primates in 1995, and later with the isolation of the world’s first human embryonic stem cells, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been a leader in the companion fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

The UW–Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) provides a central point of contact, information, and facilitation for all stem cell research activities on campus. The center’s mission is to advance the science of stem cell biology and foster breakthroughs in regenerative medicine through faculty interactions, research support, and education.

The McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI)

The McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI) is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars working to gain critical knowledge about the science and art of vision and apply it to the prevention of blindness.

Founded by Drs. Daniel M. Albert and Alice McPherson in 2005, MERI brings the extraordinary diversity and strength of vision research at UW-Madison under one umbrella. It has quickly become one of the world’s foremost multi-disciplinary vision research centers, with more than 150 members in 35 UW-Madison departments and affiliated non-UW institutions. Through basic and clinical science research of the eye and visual system, our researchers have made significant advances in the preservation and restoration of vision, basic vision research, advanced technologies, and education and outreach.

Forward BIO Institute

The Forward BIO Institute catalyzes innovation in biomanufacturing research, entrepreneurship and workforce development, and acts as a “catapult” that pushes groundbreaking technologies into the private sector.

The institute engages with research institutions throughout the Midwest and supports innovations in workforce development, transformative research and development, and public-private partnerships in the emerging area of biomanufacturing: the advanced manufacturing of therapeutic medical devices, cells, tissues or pharmaceuticals.

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