Training Programs

Biomedical Engineering Training Grants

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve is one of the few BME programs in the nation that hosts multiple federal training grants supporting doctoral students. 

Our department is home to three T32 training grants from the National Institutes of Health (details are shown below). In addition, BME graduate students often participate in the over two dozen multidisciplinary NIH Training Grants in the School of Medicine such as the NIH-funded Cancer Pharmacology Training Program and the Training Program in Musculoskeletal Research. See more information about active training grants in the School of Medicine.

NIH T32 Training Grants

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Imaging Training Program

Source: NIH/NIBIB (PI: David Wilson)
Project number: 5T32EB007509
Project start date: 2007
Student slots: 7

The Interdisciplinary Biomedical Imaging Training Program will prepare predoctoral trainees to become leaders in organism-level, biomedical imaging research. Multi-disciplinary teams of engineers, physicists, biologists, and clinicians are required to advance biomedical imaging, especially with the advent of in vivo cellular and molecular imaging. We will create the next generation of interdisciplinary biomedical imaging scientists and engineers who will contribute to and lead such teams. Our training program will build upon continuing, significant institutional, state, federal, and commercial investment in faculty and imaging infrastructure. A training grant award will place students squarely in the center of on-going interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary research programs. 

Trainees will use imaging facilities in the Case Center for Imaging Research which includes state-of-the-art clinical and small animal imaging systems, along with labs of mentoring faculty. Predoctoral trainees will be from the highly-rated departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, both of which have a long history of training in biomedical imaging. Trainees will conduct research projects combining enabling technologies in imaging with biomedical research. Each trainee will have two or more mentors representing both imaging technology and biological/clinical applications of imaging. Our educational program includes a portfolio of imaging courses, including ones focusing on imaging physics, image analysis, and reconstruction, as well as courses in drug delivery and imaging agents. We promote a culture of interdisciplinary research in a designated Imaging Hour. Our T32 program started in 2007 has been renewed with outstanding NIH scores, a most important recognition from our peers at other institutions around the country. We have already successfully trained many PhD students, all with exemplary training records and with a trajectory towards success. Other trainees are moving through the program focusing on exciting interdisciplinary imaging research and with excellent research productivity. 

Integrated Engineering and Rehabilitation Training 

Source: NIH/NIBIB (PI: Jeffrey Capadona)
Project number: 5T32EB004314-20
Project start date: 1999
Student slots: 8

The Integrated Engineering and Rehabilitation Training program prepares biomedical PhD graduates who combine an unquestioned expertise in neural stimulation and general rehabilitation engineering with a genuine appreciation of the practice and challenges of clinical rehabilitation. This program is centered in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, but also includes the strong participation of several of our local medical centers. 

Disability due to neurological disorders is a major medical challenge that can often be mitigated by application of electrical stimulation to specific neural structures. Research and commercial applications related to neural stimulation are growing almost exponentially, leading to a real need for highly qualified, PhD-level engineers who have the technical and clinical backgrounds provided by this program. Our program is focused exclusively on predoctoral training and we have trained ~25 students since 1999. The specific objectives of our training program are: (1) Prepare our trainees for productive careers in rehabilitation and neural engineering; (2) Provide a rigorous engineering education that forms the basis for future innovation; (3) Provide specific expertise in the development and application of neural stimulation for overcoming neurological disorders; (4) Provide specific expertise in modeling and simulation (musculoskeletal and/or neural); (5) Provide an extensive, hands-on clinical experience that prepares each trainee for a translational career; and (6) Provide real-world professional development training to enhance post-graduation success.

Training Program in Musculoskeletal Research

Source: NIH/NIAMSD (Ronald Triolo)
Project Start Date: 1985
Student Slots: Four predoctoral, three postdoctoral

The missions of this longstanding training grant are to provide training in musculoskeletal research to academically gifted individuals at the predoctoral and postdoctoral level and to develop these individuals towards productive careers in musculoskeletal research. The strong interdisciplinary nature of musculoskeletal research at CWRU provides an ideal framework for developing the trainees’ research expertise as well as their appreciation for the importance of interdisciplinary approaches and their interest in musculoskeletal diseases. The faculty are highly collaborative and interactive and include 21 Training Mentors plus 12 associate mentors from 12 departments in the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. There is a healthy mixture of biological-, engineering-, and clinical-oriented trainers, further emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary approaches. 

Training is provided for two or three years to four predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees per year. A careful, multi-step selection process identifies trainees. Training occurs through intensive participation in research projects as well as through a rigorous curriculum of courses, seminars, and conferences. A steering committee and an advisory committee that formally review the overall program as well as the progress of each trainee on a regular basis assist the director and co-directors. The success of the program is best appreciated by considering the career trajectories of our former trainees. Nineteen of them have obtained faculty positions at universities across the country and twelve have developed federally funded research programs. 

An additional eleven current and recent trainees from the previous two funding periods are actively engaged in biomedical research/academics. Training future musculoskeletal researchers is crucial since musculoskeletal diseases are major causes of morbidity, mortality, and impaired quality of life from millions of people in the United States and the number of affected individuals will continue to increase in frequency as our population ages.