Research

Duke BME faculty are engaged in a wide range of efforts to improve human health through research–from creating the world's first real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic system to developing the first engineered blood vessels.

The department's close proximity to the Duke University Medical Center has fostered a highly interdisciplinary approach to research, with engineers working closely with both biological scientists and physicians. This breadth of expertise is reflected in all our research programs, as we work to translate fundamental advances across the molecular, cellular, and organ scales into new developments for improved diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Major research programs include:

  • Biomechanics, focusing on orthopaedic biomechanics, other soft tissue mechanics, and cell mechanics
  • Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering, including biomolecular engineering, effect of physical force on cells and tissues, and tissue repair and replacement
  • Electrobiology and Neuroengineering, focusing understanding the electrical activity of the heart and nervous system, and on ways of controlling or using them to develop treatments for dysfunction.
  • Biomedical Imaging, concentrating on ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray, and nuclear medicine

Duke BME is building on its strengths in these core concentrations to develop collaborative programs in biophotonics, cardiovascular engineering, and therapeutic bioengineering.

Biophotonics–the intersection of optics, electronics, and biology-focuses on the development of novel sensors and imaging techniques, including advanced genetic imaging techniques, that can be used to characterize living systems at the cellular and molecular levels.

Duke is also expanding its leadership in cardiovascular engineering. Home to the first NSF Engineering Research Center in biomedical engineering–the Center for Emerging Cardiovascular Technologies–Duke BME also enjoys a strong relationship with one of the top-ranked cardiology programs in the country.

Duke BME is also applying its experience in tissue engineering and tissue characterization, drug and gene delivery, and transport processes to a new program in therapeutic bioengineering–engineering new and better ways to deliver therapies.

Both undergraduate and graduate students conduct research in these areas under the guidance of Duke BME faculty researchers, who include many winners of prestigious scientific awards and fellows of respected societies. In one of the clearest hallmarks of faculty excellence, sponsored research at Duke BME from both federal and non-federal sources has grown more than 60 percent over the past five years.