What's Inside the IAST?
When members of the University community
opened their invitations to the celebration of the Diana and Roy Vagelos
Laboratories of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, they
saw that some space is designated for to the Institute for Medicine and
Engineering (IME) and the rest for a Center for Excellence in Chemistry
and Chemical Engineering.
The IME is a structured institute with a director and staff on site, plus
laboratories for some but not all of those who will interact with it as
the Institute draws on and supports the work of three schools (SAS, SEAS
and Medicine). Its immediate programming and some of its goals for the near
future are summed up in an IME Newsletter being brought out in time for
the November 10 opening of the IAST. As the IME's director, Dr. Peter F.
Davies, says there, "Our mission is to stimulate fundamental research
at the interface between biomedicine and the engineering/computational sciences
that will lead to innovative applications in biomedical research and clinical
practice. Thus the IME focus is interdisciplinary "molecular biomedical
engineering," an unusual and rapidly developing area of research."
He continues in the Newsletter:
From a huge range of possibilities, initial IME emphases are in cardio-vascular
biology, engineering aspects of gene therapy, neuroengineering, and bioinformatics,
the latter through the establishment in July of the new Center for Bioinformatics.
Similar initiatives in biomaterials and tissue engineering are expected
to develop into IME-associated Centers over the next two years. . . .
Following the arrival of the director from the University of Chicago, our
first year has seen the recruitment of five outstanding core faculty (Cornell,
SUNY Buffalo, MIT, UBC, CalTech); completion of four additional core faculty
recruitments is expected by the Spring of `98 to create an approximate equal
balance of IME appointments to SOM and SEAS departments. Four existing Penn
faculty represent the core of the Center for Bioin-formatics. A capable
administrative staff has also been hired.
During the start-up period since July '96 the six
IME faculty have authored more than 50 full publications and made 55 international
and national lectures or presentations. Current total research grant funding
is $1.4 million with $4.0 million pending. Program grant applications are
in development with NIH and NSF, and an initiative to the Whitaker Foundation
is underway jointly with the department of Bioengineering.
There are regular interdisciplinary IME seminars (Tuesdays) and chalk talks
(Fridays) that are well attended by faculty, postdocs, and students from
a variety of backgrounds. Look out for them on the Web and in flyers.
Starting November, most IME activities will be centered in the first floor
of the new Vagelos Laboratory building at 34th St. and Smith Walk. The labs
are designed to facilitate research that integrates engineering approaches
to cell and molecular biology/biochemistry, and include core facilities
for tissue culture, molecular biology, radioisotopes, and optical imaging.
Membership of the IME has recently been extended to 15 Penn faculty from
SEAS, SOM and SAS who are in active research collaborations with IME faculty.
As we become more established, IME Membership will be extended to all faculty
with relevant interdisciplinary interests.
We look forward to seeing you at IME events in
(The IME's website is www.uphs.upenn.edu/ime/, and
who wish to subscribe to the newsletter can call 573-6813
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Chemistry and Chemical Engineering's Role
By contrast, the three upper floors represent not
so much a center as a "co-location of programs" from SAS Chemistry
and SEAS Chemical Engineering that will encourage "the interactions
across disciplinary lines that should produce increased excellence in both
fields," as Dr. George Palladino of Chemistry put it. Chemical Engineering's
Dr. Ray Gorte, who chairs his department, is among the SEAS faculty who
will be in the new facility.
Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, November
4, 1997, Volume 44, No. 11