Binghamton University is one of four university centers in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Founded originally as a small liberal arts school in a rural and beautifully peaceful and bucolic part of New York State, the relaxed country school, although well respected and even referred to as a “public Ivy” isn’t necessarily known internationally for life-sciences-based research. Perhaps that is changing as the school’s Biomedical Engineering researchers have secured nearly $4 million in research grants in just the past 24 months. Always known for a great education in a beautiful and relaxed part of the country, life science research dollars are flowing into the university adjacent to the Susquehanna River.
Recently, the university’s news outlet reported on the success of The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, as they have secured just under $4 million in research grants since 2018. Highlights include Associate Professor Sha Jin’s $1.22 million to support her diabetes research. Researchers are on the radar of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Diverse Research Interests
Sha Jin is the top producer of biomedical engineering-based research grants in the last couple years. Professor Jin’s mission centers on the use of stem cell technology to produce pancreatic tissue. This work has led to islet transplantation used in an FDA-approved clinical trial. As it turns out human-induced pluripotent stem cells, that is cells that can self-renew by dividing, could possible offer a renewable source for islets however considerable challenges remain that consume much of Professor Jin’s time. At present, there is limited knowledge as to how these islets’ form. Hence, the Jin lab at Binghamton employs a variety of approaches in the quest to direct stem cells to differentiate and mature into pancreatic islet organoids.
Associate Professor Guy German probes human skin (how different factors can cause the mechanical properties of skin to change); and Associate Professor Tracy Hookway investigates how to transform stem cells into functioning cardiac cells. Ahyeon Koh works on fascinating research probing how human sweat can be harnessed to generate electricity for flexible biosensors to monitor stress levels. And several others are work away in this nice campus in the quaint town in a university few have heard of outside of New York State on project, in some cases, of global consequence.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
The Binghamton University, State of New York, Department of Biomedical Engineering has been on the move with its researchers getting attention with more grant funds. This department embraces the complexity associated with biological, physiological, medical and importantly, social systems when considering the design and development of complex, knowledge-intensive systems. Their biomedical engineering curriculum builds upon a base provided by their freshman year engineering program in the Watson School.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering currently has 221 undergraduates. Research covers a fascinating range from Stem Cell and 3D Printing and Biological Soft Matter Mechanics Lab to In Vitro and In Silico Models of Organs and Tissues as well as more. Alumni are off to some interesting careers.