Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

Students who seek to engage in serious advanced research—and collaborate with world-class hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and biotech firms—will find a home at Stevens. The Ph.D. program focuses on the frontiers of biomedical engineering, from stem cell research and nanobiotechnology to tissue engineering and neural regeneration. Stevens’ location in the heart of metro New York enables Ph.D. candidates to work with physicians and experts in such organizations as Merck, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Hackensack University Hospital, and the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. As a result, they emerge from the program exceptionally prepared to pursue biomedical engineering at any level, from basic research to clinically relevant applications.

Faculty Distinctions

  • A respected expert in medical imaging and face recognition, Associate Professor Hong Man collaborated in the development of the ISO/ITU JPEG2000 standard for image coding. He also pursues research in real-time ultrasound video transmission and 3-D modeling of internal organs and tissues.
  • Assistant Professor Hongjun Wang counts stem cell research, nanomedicine, cell signaling, and tissue engineering among his areas of interest. His current projects explore a range of specific areas, from the role of cell signal transduction in differentiating stem cells to the nanoscale design of three-dimensional scaffolds for soft tissue regeneration.
  • With primary interests in drug delivery, tissue engineering, and polymeric biomaterials, Assistant Professor Xiaojun Yu has investigated cell and material interactions in bioreactors, release systems for the delivery of growth factors and drugs, and the manipulation of microenvironment for stem cell proliferation and differentiation.
  • Industry Professor Vikki Hazelwood brings a distinguished career in industry to Stevens, having held executive positions for medical device companies and collaborated with surgeons in a clinical setting. Among other areas, she is pursuing translational research to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.
  • Distinguished Service Professor Arthur Ritter joined Stevens after a long career teaching medicine, pharmacology, and physiology at New Jersey Medical School. The first author of Principles of Biomedical Engineering, he researches such areas as mathematical modeling of physiological processes and the mechanical properties of the failing heart.

Research Areas

  • Cell-surface interactions at the nanoscale. Important research seeks answers to the fundamental ways in which surfaces can be engineered to reduce or eliminate rejection, enhance transport, and promote cell regulatory processes.
  • Tissue engineering. Researchers pursue such cutting-edge topics as the use of polymeric biomaterials and three-dimensional scaffolding for tissue regeneration.
  • Drug delivery. Important research seeks to develop controlled release systems to deliver drugs, growth factors, and bioactive molecules to precisely targeted areas.
  • Other areas:
    • Stem cell research
    • Nanobiotechnology
    • Neural regeneration
    • Cell signaling Medical imaging
    • Blood-tissue transport of macromolecules
    • Mechanical properties of the failing heart
    • Mathematical modeling of physiological processes
    • Molecular motor-based power supplies
    • Orthopedic and spinal implants (design and testing)
    • Rehabilitation engineering
    • Concussion management
    • Exercise physiology and obesity
    • Quality of life for patients with disabilities

Collaborations

Perhaps the greatest strength of the biomedical engineering program lies in its collaborations:

  • Stevens’ faculty in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, materials engineering, and chemical biology work with biomedical engineering graduate students on research projects.
  • Faculty from top-tier medical schools—such as NYU, New York Medical College, and UMDNJ—collaborate with Stevens’ faculty in anesthesiology, pain management, vascular surgery, pediatrics, physiology, and otolaryngology.
  • Stevens’ recent articulation agreement with the new Touro University Medical School opens up collaborative research projects with clinical faculty at Touro’s primary teaching hospital (Hackensack University Hospital) and Veterans Administration Hospitals in New Jersey.
  • Dozens of biotech firms and medical device companies team with Stevens’ faculty on translational research. So do such pharmaceutical giants as Merck, Novartis, and Sonafi-Aventis.

Facilities

Biomedical engineering at Stevens takes place in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the full range of the department’s research:

  • Two bench-top EnduraTECÒ Electronic Force testing machines for the mechanical testing of tissue and implants
  • Three wear-testing machines, each with several degrees of freedom, to automatically assess the wear duty cycle of manufactured implants to FDA specifications (> 106 cycles)
  • Facilities for tissue culture, micro- and nanofabrication, and microscopy (SEM, AFM, and fluorescence confocal) to allow advanced measurements of the surface properties and structure of tissue-engineered constructs
  • Computational tools and software licenses (including Matlab/Simulink, Labview, Pro-Engineer, SolidWorks, ADINA, several proprietary 3-D animation packages, and high-end workstations) for solid structural analysis, fluid-solid interactions, dynamic simulations, and data acquisition.

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits* to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 15 to 30 must be earned through course work, and 30 to 45 via dissertation work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master’s program toward your doctoral degree.

Within two years of your admission, you must take an oral Ph.D. qualifying examination to evaluate your aptitude for advanced research and your understanding of the subjects associated with your dissertation topics. Upon satisfactory completion of this oral examination and the required course work, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, and the results must make a significant, state-of-the-art contribution to the field, worthy of publication in current professional literature. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.

*If you entered the PhD program before the Fall 2012 semester, you must earn 90 credits to complete your degree.