Northeastern Bioengineering is announcing a new Bioengineering concentration which will be offered at the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. The systems, synthetic, and computational bioengineering concentration is designed to provide students with the tools for using and applying data to build new biological functions, develop diagnostic tools, discover novel drugs, and make biological discoveries. Systems bioengineering as a field focuses on using engineering principles to model and understand complex biological systems. It involves the use of advanced large-scale experimental technologies and specialized computational tools. Students in this program will work with large data sets to study and understand biological systems. The applications of these approaches include designing biological systems whose functions integrate with clinical, agricultural, environmental, and energy fields.

The Roux Institute is a professional graduate school and research center with the mission of bringing cutting-edge technology capabilities to northern New England. It works closely with startups, corporations, and other entities in industry to build a new model of graduate education and research with a focus on experiential learning. You can learn more about the Roux at their website.

Among the distinguished faculty members at the Roux is Dr. Raimond Winslow, the director of life science and medical research at the Roux Institute. He is a noted leader in computational medicine, an emerging discipline that applies math, engineering, and computational science to improve understanding of human diseases. His research focuses on computational modeling of cardiac cells to improve knowledge on arrhythmias. He also investigates machine learning in critical-care medicine to identify patients who require urgent care.

The curriculum covers a variety of topics, including statistical physics, statistical inference, dynamical and stochastic modeling, execution, and analysis of quantitative experimentation, machine learning, and control and information theory. These traditional scientific disciplines and engineering approaches are taught in the context of biological applications. Along with core bioengineering courses, students will take a variety of course options as a part of the Systems, Synthetic, and Computational Bioengineering concentration, including:

  • BIOE 5710: Experimental Systems and Synthetic Bioengineering 
  • BIOE 5620: Physical Bioengineering 
  • BIOE 5115: Dynamical Systems in Biological Engineering 
  • BIOE 5750: Modeling and Interference in Bioengineering 

Additionally, students will choose from a plethora of technical electives. Topics of these courses include training in bioinformatics and computational modeling, biomechanics, systems biology, engineering approaches, molecular cell biology, machine learning, and more. A full list of course offerings can be found in the Northeastern Course Catalog.

Students are also required to either complete a project or thesis as a part of their MS degree. For this, they will have the opportunity to work with primary faculty members that are at the cutting edge of the systems, synthetic, and computational bioengineering field. Primary faculty members on the Boston Campus include:

  • Erel Levine: Statistical and machine learning approaches to biological data; gut-brain microbiome interactions multi-cellular synthetic biology 
  • Herbert Levine: Theoretical approaches to the functional behavior of living systems; cell signaling and motility; cancer metastasis and cancer immune interaction; drug resistance and epigenetics 
  • Elizabeth Libby: Synthetic biology, protein engineering, microbiology, and cell signaling 
  • Mingyang Lu: Computational systems biology, gene regulatory networks, single cell genomics 
  • Mona Minkara: Computational prediction of molecular interactions at biological interfaces 
  • Nikolai Slavov: single-cell proteomics and analysis, cell signaling, systems biology 
  • Edwardo Sontag: Feedback control theory, systems biology, cancer, and biomedicine 

Faculty at the Roux Institute include: 

  • Raimond Winslow: Computational modeling of cardiac monocytes to understand arrhythmias; machine learning in critical-care medicine to identify patients who require urgent care 
  • Saeed Amal: healthcare applications for AI, including deep learning and machine learning; natural language processing, image processing, and recommender systems 
  • Christine Lary: musculoskeletal genomics and aging; biostatistics and bioinformatics 
  • Kiran Vanaja: Systems biology of signaling networks in cancer therapeutics, metastasis and embryonic development 

Prospective students can learn more about their labs and current research by clicking the links associated with each of their names.

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