Molecular and Cellular Engineering

Cornell biomedical engineers implement multidisciplinary and multi-scale strategies that combine advanced high resolution imaging, biophysics, microfabrication, genetic modifications, protein engineering, and quantitative modeling to analyze and manipulate cell and molecular dynamics and interactions. 

We are motivated by the goal of uncovering the details of normal cell functions and disease processes, improve diagnostics, and develop novel therapeutic approaches. Cornell’s world-class expertise and resources include: the Cornell NanoScale Science & Technology Facility (CNF), the Nanobiotechnology Center, the Biotechnology Resource Center, the Cornell Physical Science Oncology Center, and Cornell’s top-ranked veterinary school and medical school synergize to create an ideal environment for research in Molecular and Cellular Engineering. 

Faculty research interests 

Prof. Ilana Brito’s lab is developing precision medicine approaches to alter deleterious functions within the human microbiome. We envision live bacterial therapeutics that can alter microbiome involvement in atherosclerosis, inflammation and to ensure the efficacy of other treatments that the microbiome may affect. We also use a variety of techniques to explore microbiome function, including high throughput sequencing and algorithm development, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and single-cell methods. 

Prof. Jonathan Butcher’s group studies how microenvironmental cues govern the transdifferentiation of heart valve cells towards osteogenic lineages, and identify principle mechanobiological pathways to target for molecular therapies to delay or rescue valve calcification. The Butcher lab also investigates the molecular regulation of embryonic valvular progenitor maturation and uses this program to engineer autologous valvular phenotypes for regenerative medicine applications. 

Prof. Ben Cosgrove’s lab studies how muscle stem cells interpret and process microenvironmental information through signaling networks that govern their cell fate during tissue maintenance and repair. Inspired by these regulatory insights, his lab engineers molecular features into self-assembled and micro-fabricated 3D biomaterials to enhance stem cell contributions to muscle regeneration. 

Prof. Iwijn De Vlaminck’s research focuses on the development of molecular analysis technologies for microbiology and immunology and the application of these technologies in the monitoring of infectious diseases and immune-related complications. His research is highly interdisciplinary in nature, and requires innovation in genomics, computational biology and molecular engineering.

Prof. Claudia Fischbach-Teschl’s lab studies the role of cell-microenvironment interactions in the development, progression, and therapy resistance of cancer. In particular, her group integrates microfabrication and tissue engineering strategies to test the impact of extracellular matrix composition, structure, and mechanical properties on tumor angiogenesis, stroma remodeling, and bone metastasis.

Prof. Christopher Hernandez’s lab studies the effects of mechanical forces on prokaryotic organisms including bacteria to examine bacterial growth and resistance to antibiotics. His research team using novel micro/nanofluidic devices, super-resolution microscopy and mechanical modeling.

Prof. Jan Lammerding’s laboratory is using a combination of microfabrication, time-lapse microscopy, and stem cell biology to create in vitro models of skeletal and cardiac muscle to study how mutations in nuclear envelope proteins cause muscular dystrophies and heart disease, and how cells translate mechanical stimuli into biochemical signals. In addition, the Lammerding lab is applying cell and molecular engineering approaches to investigate how changes in nuclear structure and mechanics can modulate cell migration in 3-D environments and facilitate cancer metastasis.

Prof. Esak (Isaac) Lee’s lab focuses on lymphatic vascular biology, cancer biology, immunoengineering, and regenerative medicine. To address key questions in these fields, Dr. Lee develops novel organs-on-chip platforms mimicking lymphatic drainage, tumor vascular interactions, and immune cell trafficking to the vasculatures to provide new strategies for regenerative medicine and treatment of cancer, immune diseases, and edema.

Prof. Ankur Singh’s research focuses on engineering immune cells to understand their decision making process and generation of therapeutics. His work further focuses on engineering technologies to elucidate mechanism involved in regulation of molecular proteins involved in epigenetics and signaling in immune cells and related lymphoid malignancies.

Research Area Faculty

The faculty researchers in this area exemplify the collaborative nature of the work done at Cornell Engineering.

Lawrence Bonassar

Lawrence Bonassar

Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor in Biomedical Engineering
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Weill Hall, Room 149
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Ankur Singh

Ankur Singh

Associate Professor (Moving summer 2020)
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Associate Professor (Moving summer 2020)
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering

Graduate field faculty

Christopher Alabi, 
Matt DeLisa,
David Erickson,
Toshi Kawate,
Brian Kirby,
John Lis,
Dan Lou,
Chris Ober,
Matt Paszek,
Lois Pollack,
Mingming Wu,

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