Purdue College of Engineering and Indiana University School of Medicine announce Engineering-Medicine partnership

INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue University College of Engineering and Indiana University School of Medicine are launching a new educational and research partnership to develop novel technological solutions for pressing health care problems.

While the two institutions have collaborated for decades, the new Engineering-Medicine partnership formalizes the relationship and represents a long-term commitment to meld the institutions' complementary expertise.

Matt Arkenberg, a first-year doctoral student at Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, is developing novel biomaterials that could one day be used to promote survival of pancreatic islets transplanted into type 1 diabetic patients to restore normoglycemia. Arkenberg is one of the inaugural recipients of the Innovation for Clinical Translational Fellowship, jointly funded by the Purdue College of Engineering and Indiana University School of Medicine through the Engineering-Medicine Partnership. (Photo/Vincent Walter)

"The marriage of medicine and engineering is essential to developing the most advanced diagnostics and devices to treat patients," said Dr. Jay L. Hess, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU's executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “This partnership leverages existing expertise, optimizes public resources and positions Indiana to be a leader in the development of technologies that transform health."

"Medicine is key to the future of engineering, with biomedical engineering front and center but important roles as well for nearly all engineering disciplines," said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue. "We are grateful for our long, productive relationship with IU School of Medicine, including our ongoing MD/Ph.D. program. Our collaboration is now strengthened with the simultaneous launch of multiple new programs that will help elevate engineering-medicine synergy through cross-disciplinary education, research and innovation."

Leaders from Indiana University School of Medicine and Purdue University’s College of Engineering sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize the partnership. From left are George R. Wodicka, Purdue’s Dane A. Miller Head of Biomedical Engineering; Jay Hess, dean of the IU School of Medicine and executive vice president for University Clinical Affairs; Anantha Shekhar, executive associate dean for research affairs and director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute; and Mung Chiang, Purdue’s John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.

The partnership:

  • Establishes an MD/MS in biomedical engineering program that will provide master’s-level training to IU medical students who seek to develop and apply engineering technologies in their clinical practices and related research laboratories.
  • Creates the Clinical Innovation and Translation (ICT) Fellowships in Biomedical Engineering, a new program that will immerse Purdue engineering graduate students in clinical settings and provide mentorship from faculty at both institutions so they are better prepared to translate technology directly into hospital and ambulatory health care settings.
  • Provides opportunities for IU School of Medicine students interested in exploring research in biomedical engineering to embed in Purdue College of Engineering faculty research groups during the summer.
  • Formalizes annual research collaboration meetings between faculty at each campus to spur joint projects and share expertise.
  • Bolsters a program administered by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute that provides pilot funding to cross-disciplinary research projects involving faculty from both institutions.

The new programs build on and strengthen existing educational and research collaborations, including a highly selective MD/Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering. IU and Purdue are partners in the Indiana Clinical Translational and Sciences Institute, and IU School of Medicine and Purdue College of Engineering faculty members are collaborating on about 50 research projects in various stages of research and development, clinical trials and clinical practice.

Recent exemplars include a new Type 1 diabetes therapy that shows promise for long-term reversal in both humans and dogs and a new imaging technique that provides a detailed 3D image of the brain with important implications for studying Alzheimer’s disease.

"Whether we are developing new tests to diagnose cancer at earlier stages, improving surgical devices, or seeking ways to regrow damaged organs, we need the best minds from many disciplines working together for the benefit of patients," said Dr. Anantha Shekhar, executive associate dean for research affairs at IU School of Medicine and director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. "We are fortunate to have such strong programs in medicine and engineering in Indiana, and we feel confident that our joint efforts will strengthen the state's critical life sciences sector."

Dean Chiang added, "Through the expanded partnership, our goal is to broaden Purdue Engineering's impact on health to match our contributions in many other technological realms, such as space exploration. The now enhanced collaboration with IU School of Medicine represents yet another Purdue 'Giant Leap' forward."

For more information about the Engineering-Medicine Partnership, please visit https://purdue-indiana.net.

About the Purdue University Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

In just two decades, the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering has synergistically leveraged Purdue's and IU School of Medicine's expansive engineering and medical infrastructure, respectively, to rapidly create one of the most productive translational research enterprises around new medical technologies. Concurrently, the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering has graduated hundreds of top students at the bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. levels. For more information, please visit www.purdue.edu/BME.

About Indiana University School of Medicine

Indiana University School of Medicine is one of the nation's premier medical schools and is a leader and innovator in medical education, research and clinical care. The country's largest medical school, IU School of Medicine educates more than 1,600 medical and graduate degree students on nine campuses in Indiana, and its faculty holds nearly $340 million in research grants and contracts, to advance the School's missions and promote life sciences. For more information, please visit medicine.iu.edu.

Media Contacts:
Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu
Christina Griffiths, 317-671-3114, griffchm@iu.edu
Katie Duffey, 317-278-3630, kaduffey@iu.edu 

Sources:
Jay L. Hess
Mung Chiang

Note to Journalists: Video b-roll is available on Google Drive at https://goo.gl/bTGnRA. The The materials were prepared by Erin Easterling, digital producer for the Purdue College of Engineering, 765-496-3388, easterling@purdue.edu.