Engineering Our WorldThe e-newsletter of the MIT School of Engineering

Our Initiatives

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Tiny Technologies

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Engineering Systems

Emerging Technologies


Educational Innovation

Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2004

Welcome to the first issue of Engineering Our World, the MIT School of Engineering's free bulletin for alumni and friends. Updated six times yearly, Engineering Our World describes some of the work we're doing at the leading edge of technological change, providing news and articles of the School's major initiatives.


Bioengineering — MIT-style

by Dean Thomas L. Magnanti

Twenty-five years ago, we lacked the technology to access biological systems, measure them, change them, and design them at the molecular level. Today, the revolution in modern molecular and cell biology equips us with the tools to carry out these modifications. By applying engineering thinking to the fascinating systems presented by biology, we stand ready to create ground-breaking new technologies and science of enormous value to society.

Do you wonder what the "hot" trends of engineering are today?

Bioengineering appears on everyone's chic list these days, and there's good reason. The engineering possibilities unlocked by the molecular and genomic revolutions in biology offer a dramatically new approach to solving medical, environmental, and other societal problems. These include

  • the creation of replacement organs and tissues, including liver, cartilage, and nerves;
  • approaches that impede the drug resistance of cancer cells;
  • the use of artificial muscle fibers and information technologies for micro-surgical tools and other biomedical devices; and
  • an understanding of how cells repair themselves to determine the effects of exposure to environmental toxins.

Through bioengineering, engineering schools are transforming themselves, making the first widespread change in their departmental structures since the introduction of computer science a generation ago. At the School of Engineering, we too recognize bioengineering as a strategic direction for the future.

But we do bioengineering differently.