Student Resources

  • Here at MIT

    Biomaterials Education
    Degree Programs
    Relevant Courses

    Biomaterials Related Research

    Post Your Resume on the Web

    Outside MIT

    Links to Other Universities Offering Biomaterials Programs

    Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities


    Here at MIT:

    Biomaterials Education:

    Ph.D./Graduate Options in Biomaterials:

    Materials Science (Course 3) 1. Biomaterials panel— 4 core subjects in materials science (thermodynamics, kinetics, mechanics, electronic materials) plus advanced courses chosen from several biomaterials offerings. Research may be done in any lab at MIT. This option may be in development and not currently available.

    2. Non-biomaterials panel— 4 core subjects in materials science plus advanced courses chosen from a non-biomaterials discipline (e.g., ceramics, electronic materials, etc.); electives in biomaterials may be taken, and research may be done in any lab at MIT. This option may be suitable for those students wishing a broader foundation in materials science.

    3. PPST (Program in Polymer Science and Technology)— an interdisciplinary program bridging the interests in polymer research of the departments of chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, and chemistry, etc. Core subjects in polymer science (synthesis, physics, processing, and mechanics) plus 2 required courses in the student’s home department (e.g., materials science). At least one biomaterials class is required, but more may be taken. This option may be suitable for those students wishing to do polymeric biomaterials research and have a solid foundation in polymers.

    Mechanical Engineering (Course 2) 1. Biomaterials emphasis—subjects taken in mechanical engineering (thermodynamics, mechanics, control systems, etc.) with the option to take classes from a variety of biomaterials and other bioengineering-related offerings. 

    2. PPST option— same as listed in the materials science section, but core classes are in mechanical engineering.

    Chemical Engineering (Course 10) 1. Normal Ph.D. option— several core subjects chemical engineering (thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, transport phenomenon, etc.) with the option to choose from a variety of biotechology and biomaterials classes (e.g., biochemical engineering, cell/tissue engineering, etc.).

    2. PPST option— same as listed in the materials science section, but core classes are in chemical engineering.

    Bioengineering and Environmental Health (BEH) 1. Ph.D. option—a newly developed program with a required core in bioengineering disciplines (e.g., biomechanics, cell biology, biochemistry, engineering physiology, etc.) plus electives in biomaterials, pathology, cell/tissue engineering. Provides a good biological and engineering foundation for biomaterials or other biotechnology research. Faculty are drawn from the more traditional engineering disciplines. 
    2. S.M. option—undergraduate students enrolled in the BEH minor may elect to receive a 5th years Master’s degree after 4 years of undergraduate and 1 year of graduate study. Coursework allows several opportunities for biomaterials classes and research.
    Health Sciences Technology (HST) Joint Harvard-MIT program in biomedical engineering and biosciences. Core first-year medical school classes (pathology, physiology, biochemistry, etc.) plus required classes in a home engineering department at MIT; it is possible to choose classes from many bioengineering and biomaterials electives. Provides some clinical exposure. Options exist for receiving an M.D., a Ph.D., or a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree from this program.

    Undergraduate Options in Biomaterials:

    Materials Science (Course 3) 1. Concentration in biomaterials—students may emphasize/specialize in biomaterials-related coursework, in addtion to a set core in all facets of materials science.

    2. BEH  minor—in conjunction with the BEH Division, students may pursue a bioengineering minor with the option to take biomaterials classes.

    Non-materials Science Courses BEH  minor—in conjunction with the BEH division, students from all courses may pursue coursework in bioengineering with the option to take biomaterials classes.

    Relevant Courses:  (Link to MIT Subject Listing)

    2.761J, 22.56J,  HST.561J
    Principles of Medical Imaging
    D. Cory 
    D. Rowell
    Design of Medical Devices and Implants
    I.V. Yannas
    M. Spector
    Solution of clinical problems by use of implants and other medical devices. Systematic use of cell-matrix control volumes. The role of stress analysis in the design process. Anatomic fit: shape and size of implants. Selection of biomaterials. Instrumentation for surgical implantation procedures. Preclinical testing for safety and efficacy: risk/benefit ratio assessment. Evaluation of clinical performance: design of clinical trials. Project materials drawn from orthopedic devices, soft tissue implants, artificial organs, and dental implants.
    Cell-Matrix Mechanics
    I.V. Yannas 
    M. Spector
    Mechanical forces play a decisive role during development of tissues and organs, during remodeling following injury as well as in normal function. A stress field
    influences cell function primarily through deformation of the extracellular matrix to which cells are attached. Deformed cells express different biosynthetic activity
    relative to undeformed cells. The unit cell process paradigm together with topics in connective tissue mechanics form the basis for discussions of several topics from
    cell biology, physiology, and medicine.
    Biomaterials-Tissue Interactions
    I.V. Yannas 
    M. Spector 
    Principles of materials science and cell biology underlying the design of medical implants, artificial organs, and matrices for tissue engineering. Methods for biomaterials surface characterization and analysis of protein adsorption on biomaterials. Molecular and cellular interactions with biomaterials are analyzed in terms of unit cell processes, such as matrix synthesis, degradation, and contraction. Mechanisms underlying wound healing and tissue remodeling following implantation in various organs. Design of implants and prostheses based on control of biomaterials-tissue interactions. Comparative analysis of intact, biodegradable, and bioreplaceable implants by reference to case studies. Criteria for restoration of physiological function for tissues and organs.
    Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Biomechanics
    A.J. Grodzinsky
    R.D. Kamm
    L. Mahadevan
    Develops and applies scaling laws and the methods of continuum mechanics to biomechanical phenomena over a range of length scales. Topics include: structure of tissues and the molecular basis for macroscopic properties; chemical and electrical effects on mechanical behavior; cell mechanics, motility and adhesion; biomembranes; biomolecular mechanics and molecular motors. Experimental methods for probing structures at the tissue, cellular, and molecular levels. Satisfies one of the core Biomedical Engineering requirements for the interdepartmental minor in Biomedical Engineering.
    Materials for Biomedical Applications
    A.M. Mayes
    Introduction to the interactions between cells and surfaces of biomaterials. Surface chemistry and physics of selected metals, polymers, and ceramics. Surface characterization methodology. Modification of biomaterials surfaces. Quantitative assays of cell behavior in culture. Biosensors and microarrays. Bulk properties of
    implants. Acute and chronic response to implanted biomaterials. Topics in biomimetics, drug delivery, and tissue engineering. Laboratory demonstrations.
    Nanomechanics of Materials and Biomaterials (New)
    C. Ortiz
    Subject focuses on the latest scientific developments and discoveries in the field of nanomechanics, i.e. the deformation of extremely tiny (10-9 meters) areas of synthetic and biological materials. Lectures include a description of normal and lateral forces at the atomic scale, atomistic aspects of adhesion, nanoindentation, molecular details of fracture, chemical force microscopy, elasticity of individual macromolecular chains, intermolecular interactions in polymers, dynamic force
    spectroscopy, biomolecular bond strength measurements, and molecular motors.
    Nanomechanics of Materials and Biomaterials
    C. Ortiz
    Focuses on the latest scientific developments and discoveries in the field of nanomechanics, i.e. the deformation of extremely tiny areas of synthetic and biological materials. Lectures include a description of normal and lateral forces at the atomic scale, atomistic aspects of adhesion, nanoindentation, molecular details of fracture,
    chemical force microscopy, elasticity of individual macromolecular chains, intermolecular interactions in polymers, dynamic force spectroscopy, biomolecular bond strength measurements, and molecular motors.
    Biotechnology and Engineering
    J.M. Essigmann
    R.S. Langer
    Illustrates how the principles of chemistry, biology, and engineering are integrated to create new products for human health and consumption. Uses case-study format to examine recently developed products of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries: how a product evolves from initial idea, through patents, testing, evaluation, production, and marketing. Emphasizes scientific and engineering principles, as well as the responsibility scientists, engineers, and business executives have for the
    consequences of their technology.
    Cell and Tissue Engineering
    L. Griffith
    H. Lodish
    D.A. Lauffenburger
    Analysis of fundamental processes in tissue engineering for human therapeutic applications and for in vitro models of human tissue, using representative examples of metabolic tissue (e.g., liver) and connective tissue (e.g., bone). Design principles and engineering approaches (e.g., use of synthetic materials) for controlling receptor-mediated processes such as cell migration, growth, and differentiation. Mass transfer limitations in design of devices for cell encapsulation and in scaffold-guided regeneration. Guided organization of multicellular structures. Current clinical prospects.
    Extracellular Matrix and Signal Transduction
    R. Sasisekharan
    Recent progress in biology has contradicted the historic notion of the extracellular matrix (ECM) being nothing more than an inert scaffold around cells. Subject deals with important concepts and examples of extracellular modulation of cell function. Following an introduction to ECM components and how ECM components modulate signal transduction, subject specifically studies growth factor and cytokine mediated signal transduction, as well as how external agents such as UV radiation or toxins modulate signal transduction. Addresses issues of cell-ECM interactions and signal transduction in cell and tissue engineering. Offered second half of spring term.
    Perspectives in Biological Engineering
    D. Lauffenburger
    P. Matsudaira
    An in-depth presentation and discussion of how engineering and biological approaches can be combined to solve problems in science and technology, emphasizing integration of biological information and methodologies with engineering analysis, synthesis, and design. Emphasis on molecular mechanisms underlying cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene expression networks, and functional responses.
    Molecular Structure of Biological Materials
    S. Zhang
    Basic molecular structural principles of biological materials. Molecular structures of various materials of biological origin, including collagen, silk, bone, protein adhesives, GFP, self-assembling peptides. Molecular design of new biological materials. Graduate students are expected to complete additional coursework.
    Engineering Analysis of Cell Receptor Processes
    D.A. Lauffenburger
    Analysis of mammalian cell function from a quantitative, engineering perspective, focusing on receptor-mediated behavior and underlying receptor/ligand interactions. Topics include receptor/ligand binding; receptor/ligand trafficking; physical aspects of receptor ligand interactions (probability, diffusion, multivalency); signal transduction; cell proliferation; cell adhesion; cell migration.
    Quantitative Physiology: Cells and Tissues
    T.F. Weiss
    D.M. Freeman
    Principles of mass transport and electrical signal generation for biological membranes, cells, and tissues. Mass transport through membranes: diffusion, osmosis, chemically mediated, and active transport. Electric properties of cells: ion transport; equilibrium, resting, and action potentials. Kinetic and molecular properties of single voltage-gated ion channels. Laboratory and computer exercises illustrate the concepts. For juniors and seniors. Meets with graduate subject 6.521J, but assignments differ. Students interested in enhancing their written and oral presentation skills, see subject 6.080J. 4 Engineering Design Points.
    BEH.371J BEH.471J HST.542J
    Quantitative Physiology: Organ Transport Systems
    R.G. Mark
    R. Kamm
    Application of the principles of energy and mass flow to major human organ systems. Mechanisms of regulation and homeostasis. Anatomical, physiological, and pathophysiological features of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems. Emphasis on those systems, features, and devices that are most illuminated by the methods of physical sciences. Laboratory work includes some animal studies. Waiver of 6.021J by permission of instructor. 2 Engineering Design Points.

    Biomaterials Related Research:

    Graduate Students:  Most departments at MIT allow students to work on a thesis project under an advisor in any department.

    Below is a list of professors whose research focus includes biomaterials.  Email address, unless noted, and the appropriate URL are provided.

    Chemical Engineering  (Course 10)

    Robert Langer (rlanger) (also  BEH)

    Doug Lauffenburger (lauffen) (also BEH)

    Linda Griffith  (griff) (also  BEH)

    Paul Laibinis (pel)

    Karen Gleason (kkgleasn)

    William Deen  (wmdeen)  (also  BEH)

    Clark Colton (ckcolton)

    Daniel Blankschtein (dblank)

    Gregory Stephanopoulos  (gregstep)

    Jackie Ying (jyying)

    K. Dane Wittrup (wittrup) (also BEH)

    Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

    Michael Cima  (mjcima)

    Christine Ortiz  (cortiz)

    Michael Rubner (rubner)

    Anne Mayes (

    Linn Hobbs (hobbs)

    Robert Rose (rose)

    Lorna Gibson  (ljgibson)

    Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

    Roger Kamm (rdkamm)  (also, BEH)

    Alan Grodzinsky  (alg) (also, EEC,BEH)

    Myron Spector (

    L. Mahadevan (l_m)

    Ian Hunter (ihunter)  (also BEH)

    Ioannis Yannas (also MechE/BEH)

    Bioengineering and Environmental Health  (BEH)

    those listed above and

    Dr. Zhang (shuguang)

    Ram Sasisekharan  (rams)

    Health Scince and Technology (HST)

    Elazer Edelman (eedelman)

    Frederick Schoen

    Outside MIT:

    Other Universities Offering Biomaterials Programs:

    University of Alabama
    University of Arizona
    Brown University
    Case Western Reserve University
    Clemson University
    University of Connecticut
    Cornell University
    Drexel University
    University of Florida
    Johns Hopkins University
    Mississippi State University
    University of Montreal
    Northwestern University
    University of Pennsylvania
    Rutgers University

    Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities: