The PhD Biomedical Engineering program run jointly by the School of Engineering and SUNY Downstate consists of 46 course credits (a list of bridge, core, and elective courses can be found below), exclusive of the required thesis research. The program has 3 separate, entry-level pathways to accommodate students entering with a bachelor's degree in any of the following disciplines:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Computer science engineering
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Premedical studies

Accommodating students with a variety of academic backgrounds is in keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical engineering.

Advanced PhD BME students select one from the following 2 thesis tracks:

Additional tracks may be added in the future. In the event that a student wishes to transfer between tracks during the first 2 years of the program, the Program Director will review the student's request.

The required PhD thesis research may be conducted under the supervision of a faculty member from either the School of Engineering or SUNY Downstate. It is expected that these students need 6 years after their bachelor's degree to complete the doctoral program.

Students are required to complete 2 laboratory rotations, each of 3 to 4 months' duration, prior to selection of a thesis laboratory. In keeping with the goal of preparing graduates for the changing career marketplace, it is recommended that 1 rotation be in an industrial setting; the other should be in an academic setting, i.e., in a basic science laboratory of either the School of Engineering or Downstate, or in a laboratory of a Downstate clinical department engaged in translational research.

Both types of settings provide mentor-based, individualized training of the highest quality. Both basic science and clinical faculty with active research and graduate school appointments may supervise rotations, and ultimately, thesis projects. Senior scientists in companies of Downstate's Advanced Biotechnology Park, located adjacent to the Downstate campus, are eligible for adjunct faculty status and, as such, may be supervisors of rotations and co-supervisors of thesis projects. In order to become a thesis supervisor, a sufficient level of extramural funding (i.e., grants, contracts, or clinical revenues) must be demonstrated.

Students whose thesis research advisors are the School of Engineering faculty are required to register at Polytechnic, whereas those whose thesis research advisors are Downstate faculty are required to register at Downstate. The same joint PhD is conferred regardless of the campus at which the student registers; the requirements for all graduate students in the program are identical.

While the PhD BME curriculum is designed to enroll students who have completed only a bachelor's degree, the program can accommodate students who have already completed a MS in Biomedical Engineering.

A qualifying examination, scheduled for no later than the end of the second year, is required to advance to candidacy for the PhD.


Biomaterials and Polymer Therapeutics

Research in this area focuses on the development of new generation biomaterials and structures. Polytechnic has for long been an international leader in polymer chemistry. In one approach, materials are being designed to stimulate specific cellular responses at the molecular level. Examples are bioresorbable materials that cue specific biological responses to activate genes, guide cell growth and differentiation, and alter extracellular matrix production and organization. The ability to "tailor" polymer structures, analyze the physical properties of new biomaterials, and then process these polymers into various forms allows collaborative intercampus teams to pursue a wide range of applications. These applications include synthesis of materials for tissue engineering, drug delivery, bone screws, and more. Other research focuses on the development of biosensors for rapid detection and analysis of biological markers, ranging from single nucleotide polymorphisms to anthrax spores. Through their collaborations, investigators have developed low molar mass and high molecular weight glycolipids. Results have demonstrated the potential of the new glycolipid analogs to function as effective modulators of the immune response, anticancer agents, and as adjuvants in vaccine formulations. These studies have stimulated researchers to investigate the role of sophorolipids, in particular, in decreasing sepsis related mortality and other inflammatory diseases. Another Polytechnic/Downstate collaborative team has made significant progress in the development and targeted delivery of protease (e.g., calpain) inhibitors to treat muscular dystrophy.

Bioimaging and Neuroengineering

The collaborative approach harnesses Polytechnic's extraordinary strengths in wireless technology for applications in biotelemetry. For example, Downstate neuroscientists are working on federally funded research in neurorobotics, spatial learning, and computational neuroscience including brain modeling. The goals of these biomedical research projects are to advance therapies for spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's disease, and epilepsy, respectively. These projects will benefit greatly from advanced wireless technology, either directly as in the case of neurorobotics and navigational studies, or indirectly through data acquisition from on-line patients suffering from intractable seizures. Studies pioneered at Downstate involving remotely controlled "search and rescue" rats that can navigate rubble heaps, such as those associated with terrorist attacks or natural disasters, have and will continue to benefit from advances in wireless cell phone technology to improve communication with base stations. Bioimaging has historically been a strong suit at Downstate; Dr. Raymond Damadian made the first MRI image in his Downstate campus laboratory. A long-standing collaborative project of Downstate and Polytechnic investigators is in the area of optical tomography, a method of imaging biological tissue using light at near infrared wavelengths. Applications include development of a diagnostic tool for breast tumors, brain lesions, and stroke-associated ischemic brain lesions.


A. Bridge Courses

Biomedical Science

BME G 650 Biomedical Instrumentation, Credits: 3.00
BME G 945 Recombinant DNA Technology: A Practical Approach, Credits: 3.00
BME G 950 Principles of Biological Systems, Credits: 3.00

Computer Science Engineering

CS 530 Introduction to Computer Science, Credits: 3.00
CS 580 Computer Architecture and Organization, Credits: 3.00

Chemical Engineering

CH 900 Selected Topics in Chemical Engineering I, Credits: variable
CH 901 Selected Topics in Chemical Engineering II, Credits: variable

Electrical Engineering

EL 536 Principles of Communication Networks, Credits: 3.00
EL 547 Introduction to VLSI System Design, Credits: 3.00
EL 641 Analog & High Frequency Amplifier Design, Credits: 3.00

B. Core Engineering Courses

Biomaterials and Polymer Therapeutics Track

BE 670 Materials in Medicine, Credits: 3.00
BE 952 Natural Polymers and Materials, Credits: 3.00
CM 771 Introduction to Polymer Science, Credits: 3.00
CM 782 Macromolecules in the Solid State, Credits: 3.00
MT 600 Structure-Property Relationships in Materials, Credits: 3.00
MT 620 Plastic Deformation and Fracture, Credits: 3.00
BE 660 Drug Delivery, Credits: 3.00
BE 650 Tissue Engineering, Credits: 3.00
CH 633 Transport Phenomena, Credits: 3.00
CH 773 Thermodynamics I, Credits: 3.00
CH 781 Chemical Reactor Analysis and Design, Credits: 3.00

Bioimaging and Neuroengineering Track

CS 667 Neural Network Computing, Credits: 3.00
EL 501 Wireless Personal Communication Systems, Credits: 3.00
EL 536 Principles of Communication Networks, Credits: 3.00
EL 512 Image Processing, Credits: 3.00
EL 522 Sensor Based Robotics, Credits: 3.00
BME G 220 Mathematical Modeling in Life Sciences: Computational Neuroscience, Credits: 3.00
BME G 620 Biomedical Imaging I, Credits: 3.00
BME G 621 Biomedical Imaging II, Credits: 3.00

C. Core Biomedical Science Courses

Biomaterials and Polymer Therapeutics Track

MCIM G105 Seminar Series in Microbiology and Immunology, Credits: 1.00
ANCB G109 Seminar Series in Lipid and Vascular Biology, Credits: 1.00
MCB G113 Molecular Genetics, Credits: 4.00
MCB G120 Work in Progress Seminars, Credits: 0.00
MCB G201 Molecular and Cellular Biology I, Credits: 6.00
MCB G203 Molecular and Cellular Biology Seminar Series, Credits: 1.00
BIOC G203 Graduate Biochemistry, Credits: 4.00
CM 941 Biochemistry I (graduate level), Credits: 3.00
CM 942 Biochemistry II (graduate level), Credits: 3.00
CORE G300 Research Techniques (laboratory rotations), Credits: 3.00
MCB G500 Directed Readings in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Credits: 1.00-3.00
MCB G510 Current Topics in Cellular and Developmental Biology, Credits: 1.00
MCB G512 Developmental Biology, Credits: 3.00
BME G518 Genomics and Proteomics, Credits: 3.00
BME G945 Recombinant DNA Technology: A Practical Approach, Credits: 3.00

Bioimaging and Neuroengineering Track

NBSC M100 Neuroscience, Credits: 6.00
NBSC G100 Journal Club in Neural and Behavioral Science, Credits: 1.00
NBSC G102 Neural and Behavioral Science Seminar Series, Credits: 1.00
NBSC G105 Journal Club - Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Credits: 1.00
BME G610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Credits: 3.00
NBSC G120 Work in Progress Seminars, Credits: 0.00
NBSC G200 Discussions in Behavioral Neuroscience, Credits: 2.00
NBSC G202 Selected Topics in the Limbic System, Credits: 3.00
NBSC G210 Dendritic Spines: Structure, Function, Plasticity, Credits: 2.00
CORE G300 Research Techniques (laboratory rotations), Credits: 3.00
NBSC G500 Directed Readings in Neuroscience 3.0, Credits: 3.00
MCB G520 Advanced Immunology, Credits: 3.00
BME G620 Biomedical Imaging I, Credits: 3.00
BME G621 Biomedical Imaging II, Credits: 3.00

D. Other Courses

CORE G500 Responsible Conduct in Research, Credits: 1.00
_________ Advanced Topics in Responsible Conduct in Research, Credits: 3.00
_________ SUNY/Poly BME Seminars, Credits: 1.00

E. Elective Courses

PATH G103 Current Topics in Experimental Pathology, Credits: 1.00
PATH G106 Immunological Aspects of Atopic and Related Diseases, Credits: 3.00
PHRM G106 Current Topics in Neuropharmacology, Credits: 1.00
CM 753 Bioinformatics I: Sequence Analysis, Credits: 3.00
CM 754 Bioinformatics II: Protein Structure, Credits: 3.00
MCB G202 Molecular and Cellular Biology II, Credits: 6.00
MCB G203 Molecular and Cellular Biology Seminar Series, Credits: 1.00
BE 601 Molecular Immunology, Credits: 3.00
BE 630 Transport Phenomena in Biological Systems, Credits: 3.00
CM 905 Enzyme Catalysis in Organic Synthesis, Credits: 3.00
CM 906 Combinatorial Chemistry, Credits: 3.00
CORE G520 Entrepreneurship in Academia, Credits: 1.00
PATH G508 Immunopathology of Virus Infections, Credits: 2.00
PATH M110 Human Immunology, Credits: 2.00
PHRM G100 Pharmacology Methods and Exp. Pharmacology, Credits: 2.00
BME G640 Modern Drug Discovery, Credits: 3.00
BME G650 Biomedical Instrumentation, Credits: 3.00

F. Management of Technology Courses

MG 865 Managing Innovation, Credits: 3.00
MG 603 Organizational Behav. and Mgmt. Processes in Innovative Corps., Credits: 3.00
MG 693 Information Technologies, Systems and Mgmt. in Organizations, Credits: 3.00
MG 786 High-Technology Entrepreneurship, Credits: 3.00
MG 775 Operations Mgmt. for Knowledge-based Enterprises (1/2 semester), Credits: 3.00
MG 795 Global Innovation (1/2 semester), Credits: 3.00
MG 820 Project Management and Assessment for Technology Managers, Credits: 3.00
MG 785 High-Technology Leadership, Credits: 3.00
MG 784 Negotiation in Technology-Intensive Sectors, Credits: 3.00
MG 787 Intellectual Property for Technology and Information Managers, Credits: 3.00
MG 797 Financing the Value Creation, Credits: 3.00

G. Thesis Research

BME G999 Ph.D. Thesis Research in Biomedical Engineering @ Downstate
________ Ph.D. Thesis Research in Biomedical Engineering @ Polytechnic