IGERT Participant Support: Building Leadership Through a Program on Engineered Bioactive Interfaces and Devices

Grants and Contracts Details


This Integrative Graduate Education Research Training (IGERT) proposal addresses the need for a coherent interdisciplinary graduate education and research training program on Engineered Bioactive Interfaces and Devices. The proposed program establishes a series of educational activities that integrate research, training, leadership and professional development, international perspectives, and ethical issues to better train the students to become the scientific leaders of tomorrow. Intellectual Merit. Engineered Bioactive Interfaces and Devices focuses on the novel design of architectures that interact with biological systems and promote a desired response. The need for this cross-disciplinary interaction between investigators working on biological systems and those creating novel engineered synthetic architectures has long been recognized and emphasized in a number of reports from various agencies including the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. These advanced architectures have numerous applications ranging from tissue engineering, to sensing systems, to drug delivery and successful development of these systems will depend on expertise not only in developing novel synthetic architectures through nanotechnology, self-assembly and hybrid systems but also on the interactions of these interfaces with biological systems such as cells and proteins. Therefore. we propose three major cross-disciplinary research themes that form the foundation of the research and education focus areas; "Novel Bioactive Architectures", "Cell/Protein Interactions at Interfaces", and "Integration into Devices". We envision that this IGERT program will not only enhance the training of students for a broad spectrum of academic and industrial careers but will also lay the infrastructure for institutionalizing the training program and lay the basis for a longterm, cross-disciplinary research cluster in this area. The faculty participants from eight different academic programs have existing research collaborations that include joint student supervision, grant funding and publications. The proposed IGERT program builds on these successful collaborations and integrates them with other educational and training components, such as seminars, internships, international collaborations, cross-disciplinary courses/workshops, as well as activities in team work skills, problem-based learning, and responsible conduct of research. Central to all these activities will be a cross-disciplinary approach to research in Engineered Bioactive Interfaces and Devices. Broader Impacts. Nearly all materials used today in biological applications are those that were originally designed for non-biological applications without any consideration for the interactions between the biological system and the synthetic interface. The need for more advanced bioactive interfaces and for specialty applications has grown and successful development of these architectures will require the integration of the biological sciences and engineering disciplines. The proposed IGERT program addresses this need by educating and training the next generation of engineering and scientists working in this area. High quality students will be recruited nationwide and emphasis will be placed on identifying and recruiting qualified individuals from underrepresented groups in science and engineering. Through the activities proposed, the student participants will further enhance their backgrounds in their primary disciplines and obtain a thorough, cross-disciplinary education at the interface of biological sciences and engineering using state-of-the-art instrumentation and methodologies. Through outreach activities and undergraduate participation, this IGERT program will have a much more far-reaching impact than simply supporting the IGERT fellows. We will encourage young students, teachers and undergraduates to bridge the gaps between traditional disciplines when solving problems. In addition, we envision that the program will be a catalyst for a systemic change in graduate education and will provide a model for training students in crossdisciplinary fields.
Effective start/end date9/1/078/31/14


  • National Science Foundation


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.