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Center for BioEngineering producing important scientific advances

New UC Santa Barbara center brings together research and teaching in biology, engineering and physical sciences.

Frank Doyle (left) and Samir Mitragotri, UC Santa Barbara

A new center at UC Santa Barbara has the development of an artificial pancreas in its sights, as well as new biomaterials, new tools for the detection and diagnosis of disease, and new mechanisms for drug delivery, among other cutting-edge scientific developments.

UC Santa Barbara’s new Center for BioEngineering (CBE), proposed by Frank Doyle, associate dean of research in the College of Engineering, was approved earlier this year by the Academic Senate. The center is a locus of research and teaching — at the interface of biology, engineering and physical sciences — that is already producing results that benefit industry and medicine. Research at the CBE is yielding important advances in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of common and devastating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration.

CBE builds on UC Santa Barbara’s interdisciplinary strengths in biophysics, biomaterials, biomolecular discovery and systems biology, which allow for fundamental scientific discoveries to be transitioned to applications in medicine and biotechnology.

“UC Santa Barbara is very proud to be the home of the new Center for BioEngineering,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “The creation of the CBE marks a major step forward for our campus. In this highly interdisciplinary field, UCSB is already at the forefront. Our new center will consolidate our position and support groundbreaking research aimed at finding innovative solutions for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.”

Samir Mitragotri, the founding director of the center and professor of chemical engineering, emphasizes the importance of CBE as a “home” for bioengineering on campus, since bioengineering is already an area of research in many of UC Santa Barbara’s centers, institutes, departments and colleges.

“I expect that the center will enable opportunities in terms of new fundamental understanding of disease mechanisms, and research at the interface of physical sciences, engineering sciences, medicine and biology,” said Mitragotri. “That includes understanding and development of new technologies to either diagnose or treat a disease.”

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