Research in Biomedical Engineering

Impacting Human Health


BME-resarch overview

Biomedical engineering is multidisciplinary, bringing together expertise in engineering, physics, materials science, computation, biology, and medicine to increase our understanding of disease, improve diagnosis, and develop treatments that benefit human health. Research in our department covers a spectrum of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, orthopedics, neurology, vision, and regenerative medicine. Explore our research focus areas to find out more!


The fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering combine elements of cellular and molecular biology, materials science, and engineering. Research in the area of biomaterials can range from creating drug-delivering nanoparticles that improve disease treatment to developing 3-D tissue substitutes using scaffolds that are engineered from proteins native to the human body. Our tissue engineering faculty employ a diverse range of approaches to create living tissue environments that may be used to restore the function of a damaged organ or uncover biological mechanisms related to tissue development and disease.



Randolph AshtonPaul CampagnolaShaoqin “Sarah” GongPamela KreegerWan-Ju LiKristyn Masters,  William MurphyRay Vanderby, Melissa Skala


Paul Anderson, Weibo Cai, , Padma GopalanHongrui Jiang, Joe Kao, Rod LakesRegina MurphySean PalecekEric ShustaSusan ThibeaultLih-Sheng (Tom) Turng,

Biomechanics applies engineering mechanics for understanding biological processes and for solving medical problems at systemic, organ, tissue, cellular, and molecular levels. Research efforts in biomechanics include the mechanics of connective tissues (ligament tendon, cartilage and bone) as well as orthopedic devices (fracture fixation hardware and joint prostheses), vascular remodeling (normal and pathological mechanics of pulmonary hypertension), muscle mechanics with injury and healing, human motor control, neuromuscular adaptation (with age, injury, and disease), microfluidics for cellular and subcellular applications, cellular motility and adhesion. Biomedical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison use biomechanics for applications as diverse as studying the fundamental viscoelastic behavior of connective tissues preventing repetitive motion disorders in manual work, and understanding and preventing mechanical compromise in tissues in response to healing, changes in loading (from exercise, bed rest, etc.), aging, disease, and biochemical factors.



Naomi CheslerDarryl ThelenRay Vanderby



Peter AdamczykNadine ConnorWendy CroneMarlowe EldridgeKreg GrubenSusan Hagness, Tim HallBryan Heiderscheit, Corinne HenakJack JiangRod Lakes, Peter Muir, Kristen PickettHeidi PloegRobert Radwin, Scott Reeder, JoAnne Robbins,  Alejandro Roldan-Alzate,  Mary SestoGregg Vanderheiden, Tomy Varghese,

bme-imagingBiomedical imaging designs and enhances systems for non-invasive imaging of cellular, tissue and organ structure for basic science and translational applications. Though the field has traditionally concentrated on anatomical imaging for diagnostic information (e.g. MRI, CT and PET), it is increasingly recognized that multiscale approaches using optical microscopy are essential to elucidate the cellular and tissue composition needed for superior diagnostics and also for functional and therapeutic applications. Integration of engineering, physics, and computer technology principles in conjunction with the expertise of clinical collaborators ae required to achieve these advanced capabilities.



Walter BlockChristopher BracePaul CampagnolaShaoqin “Sarah” GongJan Huisken, M. Elizabeth MeyerandJeremy Rogers, Melissa Skala



Kevin EliceiriSean FainAaron Field,  Thomas GristSusan HagnessRock Mackie, Charles MistrettaScott Reeder, Daniel van der WeideTomy Varghese




Cellular engineering is an interdisciplinary field in which the principles of engineering and life sciences are used to study or manipulate biological processes at a cellular or molecular level. Stem cell engineering is a particular area of emphasis for many in BME, melding engineering and developmental biology to investigate and regulate the process of cellular differentiation.



David BeebePaul CampagnolaNaomi CheslerPatricia KeelyPamela KreegerWan-Ju Li, Kristyn Masters, Megan McCleanWilliam MurphyKrishanu SahaRay Vanderby,



Regina MurphySean Palecek,  Eric ShustaDaniel van der Weide,  John Yin



Bioinstrumentation is the application of electronics and measurement principles and techniques to develop devices used in diagnosis and treatment of disease. Examples include brain-computer interface, implantable electrodes, senors, tumor ablation and other medical devices.



David Beebe, Walter Block, Christopher Brace, Jan Huisken, Jeremy Rogers, Melissa Skala, Justin Williams,



Kevin Eliceiri, Susan Hagness, Rock Mackie, Bruce Thomadsen, Daniel van der Weide


Neuroengineering is a multidisciplinary field that involves the use of engineering technology to study the function of various neural systems. Research at UW-Madison is primarily focused on interfacing with the nervous system in one of two ways: (1) Neuroimaging – the development of novel non-invasive imaging methods for studying or diagnosing neurological injury and disease and (2) Neural interface –  the development of implantable technology and materials for neuroprosthetic and rehabilitation applications or basic neuroscience studies.



Randolph AshtonWalter BlockElizabeth MeyerandJustin Williams



Elizabeth FeltonAaron Field, M.  Daniel van der WeideTom Yin





Systems biologists rely on both quantitative experiments and computational modeling to understand how the molecular components of cells (such as genes and proteins) determine higher level behaviors (proliferation or migration, for example). Ultimately, systems biology can be used to identify drug targets, develop personalized therapies, and determine design principles to control cellular behavior or optimize production.



Pamela Kreeger, Megan McCleanKristyn MastersKrishanu Saha



Brian PflegerJennifer Reed,  John Yin


Affiliated Research Centers