Newswise — NEW YORK, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai today announced the creation of the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine (CEPM), one of the first centers in the nation to bridge engineering and engineering science with medicine. This undertaking will build on a wealth of shared basic research discoveries, explore unique therapeutic innovations in cancer, Alzheimer’s and a myriad of infectious diseases; educate a new generation of biomedical leaders; and develop new technologies and processes that enhance patient outcomes in unprecedented ways. CEPM represents an evolution in the successful partnership between Mount Sinai and RPI, one that has secured over $70 million in shared research funding since 2013 with 90 percent of that provided by the National Institutes of Health.
The joint center will be located at 619 West 54th Street in Manhattan, with research also occurring at the Rensselaer campus in Troy, New York. The center will drive advances in point-of-care and point-of-use devices and diagnostics; microphysiological platforms for discovery and diagnosis; robotic surgery; biomedical imaging; therapeutics biomanufacturing; and artificial intelligence and machine learning applied to biomedical data. These engineering advances will improve patients’ quality of life by synergizing state-of-the-art expertise in research and education at the nexus of engineering and medicine.
The center was announced with a ceremonial signing at the new site.
“This transformative partnership between Rensselaer and Icahn Mount Sinai recognizes that engineering and engineering science is fundamental to the understanding of biomedical phenomena and is essential to the development of the next generation of precision diagnostics and therapeutics, human health and well-being, and to the training of advanced researchers and physicians,” said Shirley Ann Jackson, PhD, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Innovative research is a foundation of Rensselaer, as our students, faculty, and graduates continue to change the world through scientific and technological advances. This center will continue to fuel medical and scientific discoveries with life-changing impacts across the globe.”
“From highly sensitive and accurate bioimaging systems to new drug target discoveries, the major inventions that have shaped modern medicine were born out of close collaboration between engineers and clinicians,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System. “The CEPM presents a bold new paradigm for that collaboration to continue that we believe will result in unprecedented advances in science, medicine, and human health. In addition, the PhD program will enable us to attract and equip a new generation of researchers with the interdisciplinary engineering and clinical skills to pursue more groundbreaking, impactful research.”
The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine grew out of the historically collaborative work by Rensselaer and Icahn Mount Sinai researchers in the field of precision medicine, a personalized approach to disease treatment and prevention based on individuals’ biological, environmental, and lifestyle differences. Precision medicine is already transforming medical practice in areas such as cancer immunology, infectious disease, neuroinflammation and disease, and regenerative and reparative medicine. The CEPM will accelerate this transformation and develop new technologies that will revolutionize the way patient care is delivered.
“Engineering is the driving force for an increasing number of important medical breakthroughs,” said Jonathan Dordick, PhD, Institute Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer and Co-Director of CEPM. “The joint Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine is ideally positioned to integrate engineering research and education with medicine to develop new diagnostics and treatments at the individual level, making a real difference in people’s lives.”
“Ultimately, the outcome of CEPM will be new, transformative research projects and innovative technologies that shift clinical paradigms,” said Priti Balchandani, PhD, Professor of Diagnostic, Molecular and Interventional Radiology, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at Icahn Mount Sinai and Co-Director of CEPM. “And we believe this collaboration will generate new start-ups and attract commercial partners who transform the technologies we pioneer into therapeutic solutions that improve health care and have life-changing outcomes for our patients and for society as a whole.”
“Thanks to the innovative and historic partnership of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, the new Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine holds tremendous promise for biomedicine. The Center is part of the expanding and important biotech industry which is critical to our economy and the health of all New Yorkers and Americans. I look forward to supporting the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine as it grows and makes major contributions to society,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
“This Center will revolutionize medical practices for some of our most devastating diseases. At the core of the City’s vision for life sciences is creating opportunity for all New Yorkers, which our Mayor is working so hard to address. We have an opportunity to welcome Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to New York City, and with world-class partner, Mount Sinai, watch them change research, make discoveries, and ultimately improve patient care, saving lives,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer.
“It’s about helping treat people who are sick and improve the lives and care of New Yorkers,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “New York City is proud to have these leading institutions growing innovation around life sciences on the West Side of Manhattan and helping us put the City on a path to strengthening our future talent. Ultimately, NYCEDC’s goal, like this Center, is to spur new research and develop our talent to translate to new companies, jobs, medicines, and advanced technologies. As the Center continues to expand, we’re excited at the prospect of partnership ahead.”
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the first and one of the most renowned technological research universities in the nation. Rensselaer researchers are internationally recognized for their expertise in biotechnology and biomanufacturing; neuromodulation; tissue engineering, biocomputation, robotics, devices and microfabrication; and artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high-performance computing.
Icahn Mount Sinai is the academic arm of the Mount Sinai Health System, which offers premier medical and research training and education, runs clinical trials with data available from nearly 4 million patients, and translates basic and biomedical research into commercial products.
The CEPM will focus on three critical research areas at the interface of engineering and medicine:
- Neuroengineering, which exploits minimally invasive control and regulation of neural circuitry to target neurodegenerative diseases; brain-computer/network analysis; neuro-diagnostics; and computational neurobiology
- Immunoengineering, which focuses on developing designer immune cells; microbiome engineering; on-demand anti-infectives; and synthetic vaccines to help our bodies fight cancer and infectious disease
- Regenerative and reparative medicine, which encompasses on-demand personalized tissue repair and regeneration; organoids (3D tissue culture that mimics simplified organ function); and cellular reprogramming
To foster innovation, CEPM will develop a five-year joint PhD in engineering and precision medicine that will equip a new generation of researchers with the fundamental biological sciences, data analytics, and engineering knowledge and skills to pursue breakthroughs in medical science. The development of master’s degrees and certificate programs will broaden the CEPM’s academic mission and facilitate research that spans all aspects of disease mechanisms, data, and technologies from molecular to human dimensions. These programs include a joint PhD in engineering and precision medicine, a PhD in the School of Engineering or School of Science at Rensselaer with a concentration in engineering and precision medicine, and a PhD with a combined master’s degree or certificate in entrepreneurship.
Other key leaders include Deepak Vashishth, PhD, CEPM Associate Director and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer; and CEPM senior advisors Zahi Fayad, PhD, Director of the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai and Scott L. Friedman, MD, Fishberg Professor of Medicine and Dean for Therapeutic Discovery at Icahn Mount Sinai.
"I am delighted to welcome Mt. Sinai's newest medical center to the 6th Council District, which will further bolster New York City's position as an international leader in life and health sciences. The partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine will focus on some of the toughest health challenges facing us and serve as a model for medical research and innovation," said Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-06).
“Healthcare is a human right and everyone, no matter what zip code they live in, should have access to world class care. Today's announcement that two world class institutions have joined forces to produce the very latest in biotech research and design in New York City will further the city's growth as a biotech hub and revolutionize the future of medicine, from personalized tissue design to incision-free neurosurgery,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman, Chair of the City Council Health Committee.
About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs, including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community comprised of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni and alumnae. Rensselaer faculty and graduates include upward of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.
About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is internationally renowned for its outstanding research, educational, and clinical care programs. It is the sole academic partner for the eight member hospitals* of the Mount Sinai Health System, one of the largest academic health systems in the United States, providing care to a large and diverse patient population. Ranked 14th nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and among the 99th percentile in research dollars per investigator according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Icahn Mount Sinai has a talented, productive, and successful faculty. More than 3,000 full-time scientists, educators and clinicians work within and across 34 academic departments and 35 multidisciplinary institutes, a structure that facilitates tremendous collaboration and synergy. Our emphasis on translational research and therapeutics is evident in such diverse areas as genomics/big data, virology, neuroscience, cardiology, geriatrics, as well as gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Icahn Mount Sinai offers highly competitive MD, PhD, and Master’s degree programs, with current enrollment of approximately 1,300 students. It has the largest graduate medical education program in the country, with more than 2,000 clinical residents and fellows training throughout the Health System. In addition, more than 550 postdoctoral research fellows are in training within the Health System. To learn more, please visit https://icahn.mssm.edu/.
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