"As is our tradition at UC San Diego, we are bringing together diverse fields of science to catalyze innovation in unconventional ways", stated Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of UC San Diego. "The goal of this new organized research unit is to improve health care delivery through new tools, technologies and medicines."
"This is an important step toward the integration of two academic and professional disciplines that increasingly share common goals", stated Shu Chien, M.D., Ph.D., professor of bio-engineering and medicine, and founding director of the Institute at UC San Diego. "The Institute has already attracted a large number of outstanding faculty from UC San Diego's Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Jacobs School of Engineering who all share the objective of translating creative ideas into clinical medicine and products that will transform patient care."
The Institute of Engineering in Medicine will intersect broad areas of research and focus on new approaches to disease identification, genomic medicine, clinical testing and monitoring, and the discovery of new drugs and therapies. The Institute aligns programmes that are rated among the nation's best in U.S. News and World Report's annual "Top Graduate Schools" ranking, with the Jacobs School of Engineering ranked 11th, its bio-engineering programme ranked 2nd, and the School of Medicine ranked 14th among comparable graduate programmes throughout the United States. UC San Diego is one of four universities in the nation with a medical school and engineering school both ranked in the top 15.
David Brenner, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC San Diego, sees the Institute of Engineering in Medicine as a leader in designing next-generation therapies and devices.
"The next giant leap in patient care is going to happen through the joint efforts of engineering, medicine and pharmacy specialists, applying their expertise to expand the tool box for preventing, diagnosing and treating disease and injury", stated David Brenner. "Even though this formalized effort is still in its formative stage, we're already seeing exciting results from these collaborations that will have a profound impact at the patient's bedside."
"With our top-ranked engineering and medical schools and our close ties to the region's strong life sciences and technology industries, UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to the advancement of technologies to improve medicine and save lives", stated Frieder Seible, dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. "The ideas and applications generated by the Institute will be aided by an entrepreneurism centre that has been recognized as a national model of effectiveness, and we will strive to move medical innovations out of the university and into patient care as quickly as possible."
The von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement and the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Services at UC San Diego, which have helped to spin off dozens of local biotech companies, will facilitate the process of commercializing the Institute's innovations.
Among the examples of projects underway at UC San Diego are the following:
- Engineers, physicians, and scientists have identified cells that may be capable of regenerating damaged or lost heart muscle in patients with cardiovascular disease.
- The Nanotechnology Center of Excellence has developed nanoparticle drug delivery systems to fight cancer. These tiny "smart bombs" specifically target spreading cancer, delivering cancer-killing drugs, while sparing healthy tissue.
- The Center for the Future of Surgery is developing visualization technologies and other minimally invasive devices to make scarless surgery a reality.
- State-of-the-art stroke care is being delivered to remote sites, proving that patients can receive potentially life-saving interventions any where in the world, thanks to wireless telemedicine applications developed in collaboration with the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).