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Graduate Degree in Medical Engineering

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy offers two tracks: MedE only and Medical and Electrical Engineering (Med-EE).

Aims and Scope of Graduate Study in Medical Engineering

Our medical engineering research and education leverage Caltech's strengths in engineering, applied science, and other fundamental fields, to apply emerging technological advances to medicine, and to create innovative diagnostic, monitoring, and therapeutic systems. The program's goal is to close the gap between engineering and medicine. Our major areas of research include micro/nano medical technologies and devices, medical nanoelectronics, biomedical materials and biomechanics, fluidics and bioinspired design, and medical imaging and sensing.

Areas of Research

The Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering at Caltech focuses on the applications of micro-/nanoscale engineering sciences and technologies to the design, analysis, and implementation of diagnostic, therapeutic, and monitoring devices for translational medicine.

  • Affordable Medical Devices and Technologies (Burdick, Gao, Gharib, Hajimiri, Ismagilov, Scherer, Yang) Chairs for children with cerebral palsy, bed-sore mitigation, toxic material filters, saliva-based diabetes tests, handheld diagnostic devices, and remote medical tracking systems. Devices that provide freedom from disability.
  • Biomolecular, Cellular and Gene Therapies (Shapiro, Gradinaru) Immunotherapy, viral vectors, probiotics, regenerative medicine, targeted molecular therapies, and therapeutic gene circuits.
  • Biomaterials (Gradinaru, Greer, Ismagilov, Shapiro, Tai) Biocompatible medical materials, nanoscale-engineered smart materials, device-tissue interface, and cell-material interactions.
  • Biomechanics & Bio-Inspired Design (Burdick, Colonius, Gao, Greer, Gharib, Gradinaru, Shapiro) Bio-inspired self-propulsion technologies, control systems, optimization techniques, shape morphing, cardiovascular mechanics, biomolecular nanomechanics, and muscle and membrane mechanics.
  • Medical Diagnostic, Monitoring, and Therapeutic Implants (Emami, Gao, Scherer, Tai) Microscale implants with new functionalities to interface intact tissues and/or to replace defective functions: retinal implants, spinal cord implants, ECG implants, cardiovascular implants, implantable pressure sensors, glucose sensors, drug delivery pumps, and implantable bio-analyte sensors.
  • Medical Diagnostic and Monitoring On-Chip Devices (Emami, Hajimiri, Ismagilov, Scherer, Yang) Magnetic spectroscopy, bioassay, and drug-screening platforms, micro-PCR and sequencer, and on-chip bio-sensors.
  • Medical Imaging and Sensing (Colonius, Emami, Faraon, Gao, Gharib, Gradinaru, Hajimiri, Scherer, Shapiro, Wang, Yang) Medical photonics and sensors, advanced imaging technologies, micro flow-field imaging, computational image analysis, lensless microscopy-on-a-chip, diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound, and shock waves, single-molecule detection and diagnostics, machine-learning enabled automated pathology analysis, magnetic spectroscopy, tera-hertz imaging, Raman spectroscopy, photoacoustic tomography, thermoacoustic tomography, optical time reversal (wavefront shaping/engineering), compressed ultrafast photography, holographic microscopy, non-invasive label-free biomedical imaging and magnetic resonance imaging, wearable biosensors.
  • Medical Nanoelectronics (Emami, Gao, Hajimiri) Integrated nanoelectronics and circuits for medical applications, extremely low power medical electronics and sensors, high bandwidth wireless communication devices, self-healing circuits and systems, on-chip tera-hertz sources, and systems-on-a-chip.
  • Micro/Nano Medical Technologies and Devices (Burdick, Emami, Faraon, Gao, Gharib, Greer, Hajimiri, Ismagilov, Scherer, Shapiro, Tai, Wang, Yang) Biochips, bio-MEMS/NEMS, micro-/nano-fabrication, holographic microscopy, and photoacoustic microscopy for medical applications.
  • Molecular and Cellular Imaging and Theranostics (Shapiro, Wang) Contrast agents, reporter genes, biosensors, cell-based diagnostics, theranostics.
  • Nano & Micro Fluidics (Gao, Gharib, Ismagilov) Micro-/nano-fluidics, drug delivery, and physiological machines.
  • Prosthetics (Burdick, Emami, Tai) Neural prosthetics and direct brain-machine interfaces, human prosthetics for paralysis, pure-thought-based control of external electromechanical devices, computer-decoding algorithms for direct brain interface, and robotic fingers.
  • Quantum imaging and physics (Wang) Quantum entanglement, quantum (sub-shot noise and super-resolution) imaging, and atomic physics.
  • Wireless Medical Technologies (Emami, Hajimiri, Gharib, Scherer, Shapiro, Tai) Wireless communications through skins and tissues for medical electronic implants, electrograms, wireless power transfer, and biotic/abiotic interfaces.

The Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering offers a program of study that leads to the Ph.D. The medical engineering option at Caltech is designed for students with an engineering background who are interested in applications of micro-/nanoscale science and technology in medicine, which forms the core of Caltech's multidisciplinary medical engineering.

Wei Gao

The Med-EE track is offered jointly by both departments of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering (see EE Section), available to any students to graduate after Fall 2022; the single degree to be shown on the diploma is "Ph.D. in Medical and Electrical Engineering".