The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has joined forces with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to develop the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine (CEPM). The center is built on the premise that engineering is fundamental to understanding biomedical phenomena and developing the next generation of precision diagnostics and therapeutics. CEPM brings a diverse set of experts together in a single location in New York City to focus on research, education, and entrepreneurial translational science. By co-locating state-of-the-art engineering and medicine, the center is working toward solving society’s most intractable diseases, advancing individualized treatment, and improving quality of life for patients. In addition to research, the center strives to educate the next generation of biomedical researchers and develop pathways to commercialize the medicines and approaches it develops, to bring its efforts directly to the patient bedside. This center focuses on three general areas: immunoengineering, neuroengineering, and regenerative and reparative medicine.

Organizational Structure

The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine is jointly staffed by Mount Sinai and Rensselaer.

Directors

Priti Balchandani, PhD
Dr. Balchandani is Professor, Diagnostic, Molecular, and Interventional Radiology; Neuroscience; Psychiatry; Director, Advanced Neuroimaging Research Program; Associate Director of the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute

Jonathan S. Dordick, PhD
Dr. Dordick is Special Advisor to the President and Institute Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer.

The center boasts an active Leadership Committee, which includes the following members:

Icahn Mount Sinai

  • Zahi A. Fayad, PhD
    Director, BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute; Professor, Diagnostic, Molecular, and Interventional Radiology, Medicine (Cardiology), AI and Human Health
  • Scott L. Friedman, MD
    Dean, Therapeutic Discovery; Fishberg Professor of Medicine; Professor, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics; Chief, Division of Liver Diseases

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

In addition, faculty members from both educational institutions participate at varying levels, depending on their interests and availability. All CEPM faculty members belong to either Icahn Mount Sinai or RPI. They carry full teaching, research, and other responsibilities at their home institutions, in addition to their relationship with CEPM.

Physical Facility

The Center is located at 619 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. The facility houses offices and labs for faculty members, including both wet and dry labs. The wet labs are intended for working with liquids, biological matter, and chemicals. Dry labs serve the needs of computation, physics, and engineering. By sharing office and lab space, we increase collaboration, flexibility, and creativity across team members from both Icahn Mount Sinai and Rensselaer.

Research

CEPM is acutely aware of the accelerated pace of technological breakthroughs in precision medicine. This field integrates the fundamental complexity of biological systems (e.g., genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and systems analysis), data science and analytics, and engineering science and technologies to provide more accurate, precise, and individualized treatment modalities to patients. Precision medicine is particularly appropriate for more intractable conditions such as cancer and dementia. The more complex the disease, the greater the variety of disease manifestations. This increasing complexity, together with the need for a high degree of accuracy, precision, and computation, requires skills that lie at the heart of engineering and engineering science.

CEPM focuses primarily on three broad research areas:

  • Neuroengineering: Minimally invasive control and regulation of central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system function
  • Immunoengineering: Modulating the immune systems to address cancer and infectious disease
  • Regenerative and reparative medicine: Renewing and repairing tissue using the body’s healing mechanism

We study a range of conditions, diseases, and related technologies, and explore drug development, stem cell applications, cellular engineering, and computational neurobiology.

Using both wet and dry labs, CEPM focuses on the following areas:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning applied to biomedical data
  • Biomanufacturing
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Cellular engineering
  • Engineering in a resilient immune system
  • Microphysiological platforms for discovery and diagnostics
  • Personalized tissue repair, drug discovery, and therapeutics
  • Point-of-care and point-of-use devices and diagnostics
  • Robotics

Education

CEPM strives to educate the next generation of researchers and clinicians in precision medicine. It is creating a five-year doctoral program in engineering and precision medicine. Coursework will cover the fundamental biological sciences, data analytics, and the principles of engineering. In addition to existing coursework at both institutions, the program is adding topics such as hardware design, data science/analytics, product design, and entrepreneurship. The four main areas of emphasis are:

  • Stem cell bioengineering
  • Synthetic biology
  • Neuroengineering
  • Commercialization of advanced technologies.

Students may choose to pursue a joint degree or an individual doctorate from either Icahn Mount Sinai or Rensselaer. Students will perform their thesis research working with committee members from joint center, Rensselaer, Icahn Mount Sinai, and potentially other New York City institutions.

Applicants must hold either a master’s degree (or equivalent) degree in engineering, computer science, or biomedical sciences-related program or a bachelor’s degree with additional experience.

We anticipate adding other programs, including:

  • A National Institutes of Health NIH T32 Training Program
  • Master’s degree programs
  • Certificate programs

Translational Science

As part of our emphasis on translational science, a third arm of CEPM is the development labs, which represent the commercial outlet of our research. Our goal is to tie research efforts directly to improve patient care and quality of life. Through milestone-driven pre-venture support and early-stage venture and strategic investment financing, the value proposition of CEPM technologies is increased, thereby affording a greater return on investment to both the CEPM and society at large. We are partnering with biotech venture funds and biotech, pharma, and digital health care companies to develop biomedical technologies and products.

Entrepreneurship is also part of the CEPM’s educational programs. It involves educating our students in the economics, management, and commercialization of medical innovations. We emphasize ethics and professional norms, the role of regulatory bodies, communication, and the commercialization process for health care drugs and devices.