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What universities/professors are strong in Biomems/nanobiotech?

  1. Oct 2, 2011 #1
    Hi, I'm a senior at university of maryland-college park. I am graduating with a materials engineering bachelor's degree, 3.2 gpa, two years of research experience in a cell biophysics lab and one semester of research in a materials interface and nanotechnology lab. I just took the gre and got the 750-800 range for both quantitative and verbal. Other experience I have is that I was an RA for two years and have always worked at least 2 on campus jobs, more often 3, to put myself through school. LORs will be good but not stellar.

    I am very interested in studying bioMEMs for my master's/PhD, and was wondering what professors or universities I should look at that I could possibly get into. My more specific interests include medical nanorobotics, drug delivery systems, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering/substitutes.

    So far, the universities I have looked at that seem promising are university of cincinatti, university of washington-seattle, UC-Irvine, UC-Davis, Northeastern university, Rice, Montreal Polytechnic (Canada), Monash University (Australia), or one of the lower-ranked UK universities in the UK that have specialized nanotechnology programs-Bangor University, Ulster, Swansea, or maybe Heriot-Watt as a reach.

    I just have had some trouble figuring out how competitive it will be and how I actually stand as an applicant. My advisor told me that I should consider schools on the level of Rutgers, but have had trouble finding ones at that ranking that have any sort of bioMEMs labs or professors who are doing research in that area.

    Any and all help is appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2011 #2


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    Hi cjw21, welcome to PF. Fellow Terp here. I find it hard to believe you're having trouble finding research groups. Are you looking through issues of J Mems, J Micromech Microeng, Biophys J, Biomaterials, Acta Biomaterialia, Sensors and Actuators, and J Controlled Release to see who's publishing? These are very popular fields. If you're determined to stay in Materials Engineering rather than Biomedical Engineering, for example, consider the possibility of having an out-of-department advisor or co-advisor so you can do the research you want while taking the classes you want.

    As a former bioMEMS person, I would also say that "bioMEMS" connotes a type of silicon-wafer-based microfabrication that has faded from popularity since ~2000, and also doesn't completely overlap with your specific interests. You may be looking for the wrong keywords or sending the wrong message when communicating with research groups. MEMS is a collection of techniques, like machining, that has some place in creating devices for therapeutic applications. Think about whether you are more interested in researching the specific techniques (e.g., thin-film deposition and etching) or addressing the therapeutic applications, possibly with non-MEMS techniques (e.g., polymer science).

    Of your list of schools, my recommendation is to try to work with Nate Sniadecki at UW.
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