Biomedical Engineering and Physiology

Graphic of a human skeleton, molecules and heart

The Biomedical Engineering and Physiology program at Mayo Clinic is built on a foundation of world-renowned research programs and integrated courses with real-world relevance.

Projects spanning all levels, from basic research to clinical implementation, are addressed through the collaboration of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds, including biomedical, electrical and mechanical engineering, and biology, physics, physiology and medicine.

Outstanding multidisciplinary education

Our program is truly at the intersection of science, engineering and clinical translation. For example, our training grant "Interdisciplinary Training in Lung Physiology and Biomedical Engineering" takes the novel approach of encouraging and nurturing biomedical research skills alongside computational, mathematical and engineering skills to create a unique cadre of future leaders in biomedical research related to lung disease.

Biomedical Engineering and Physiology at Mayo Clinic provides a rigorous academic program and a dynamic learning environment that emphasizes problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills. Our graduate training provides students with the skills necessary to be successful in their thesis research and their future careers. This is reflected in the impressive number of publications, awards and extramural funding received by our students.

Fostering innovation

Collaboration with faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, as well as with clinicians, provides support and guidance for students to succeed during their time at Mayo Clinic. Students are able to work closely with world-renowned experts in their fields on a daily basis and gain skills and professional training.

Students also have access to the strong research infrastructure of Mayo Clinic, including a wide variety of core facilities and experts in biostatistics and bioinformatics.

Endless possibilities

Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences furnishes stipends and full-tuition scholarships for all Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students, which results in exceptional flexibility in choosing research mentors. Graduates of the Biomedical Engineering and Physiology program are extremely competitive and successful in both academia and industry and are uniquely poised to make meaningful, innovative contributions to society.

Areas of emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology

These areas of emphasis are available to students:

  • Biomechanics. Biomechanics involves the study of structure and function of biological systems and artificial tissue interactions using the principles of mechanics, material science and physiology. Some of the methods used include tissue scaffolding, materials testing, mechanical modeling, imaging of motion and joint mechanics.

    Examples of recent projects include study of fracture mechanics in aging vertebrae, measurement of passive muscle stiffness in children with cerebral palsy, modeling of cartilage regrowth and postural analysis of wheelchair users.

  • Biomedical imaging. Biomedical imaging advances the design and application of imaging techniques to improve disease diagnosis and staging, as well as treatment planning, delivery and assessment. The faculty and students at Mayo work in many modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, positron emission tomography (PET), radiation therapy and molecular breast imaging, as well as image processing and visualization and imaging informatics.

    Relationships with industry allow access to the latest medical imaging technology before it is commercially available, and techniques developed here are often licensed by industry for use in future products.

  • Molecular biophysics. Molecular biophysics applies principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics to study biomolecules that underlie function of cells, organs and organisms. Research interests include the structure and function of proteins and protein assemblies in live cells and model organisms with applications to ion channels, transporters and molecular motors.

    Strengths in basic and translational research include monitoring single biomolecule function in real time, linking protein dynamic motions to disease phenotypes, and biophysical and computational characterization of small molecule effectors targeting protein function in animal models of human diseases.

  • Physiology. Physiology addresses complex biological systems from molecular and cellular to tissue and organismal principles that govern their function. An assortment of novel and state-of-the-art techniques and tools are used to investigate the mechanisms of diseases and novel pathways with therapeutic potential.

    Physiology at Mayo integrates basic, clinical and translational research that builds on a strong tradition of "bench-to-bedside" and "bedside-to-bench" investigation. Studies are conducted on cell, tissue and animal models, including humans in the lab setting and even in the course of living their daily lives using innovative remote physiological monitoring tools.

Jan. 09, 2018