microscope image of gold rods

Duke BME Research

Duke BME faculty members are engaged in a wide range of efforts to improve human health through research–from creating the world's first real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic system to developing the first engineered blood vessels.

The department's close proximity to the Duke University Medical Center has fostered a highly interdisciplinary approach to research, with engineers working closely with both biological scientists and physicians–collaborations enhanced by our innovative Duke-Coulter Translational Medicine Partnership and Duke MEDx programs. This breadth of expertise is reflected in all our research programs, as we work to translate fundamental advances across the molecular, cellular, and organ scales into new developments for improved diagnosis and treatment of disease.

See a list of recent notable research by our faculty, published in selected leading journals.

Major Research Programs

Both undergraduate and graduate students conduct research in these areas under the guidance of Duke BME faculty researchers, who include many winners of prestigious scientific awards and fellows of respected societies. In one of the clearest hallmarks of faculty excellence, sponsored research at Duke BME from both federal and non-federal sources has grown more than 60 percent over the past five years.

microscope image of muscle tissue

Bioelectric Engineering

Spanning a range of length scales from the ion-channel to the organ level, with a focus on development of realistic models of cardiac muscle

biomaterials magnified


Including the molecular design of soft materials, nanomaterials, immune-active materials and scaffolds for tissue engineering

microscope image of cells

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

Focusing on mechanics at and across the molecular, cellular, tissue and organ levels

doctor looking at screens of data

Biomedical and Health Data Sciences

Developing innovative data science, machine learning, and digital health modeling approaches to transform multi-scale biomedical data into actionable insights

photoacoustic microscopy of mouse ear vasculature

Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics

Advancing the physics and mathematical theory of imaging, image acquisition and image processing, hardware design and clinical applications

microscope image of biosensors from Chilkoti lab

Biosensors and Bioinstrumentation

Utilizing recent advances in biochemistry, electronics, omics and physiology to develop novel diagnostic, therapeutic and prosthetic devices

biological systems rendering from Randles lab

Computational Modeling of Biological Systems

Using modeling, simulation, high-performance computing and data analysis to create testable hypotheses about mechanisms driving complex biological functions

illustration of gene editing technology from Gersbach lab

Drug and Gene Delivery

Understanding and developing new strategies aimed at therapies for cancer, infectious and cardiovascular disease, muscle disease, and gastrointestinal disease

immunoengineering illustration from Collier lab

Immune Engineering

Designing novel vaccines and technologies for tissue engineering and treatment of wounds, chronic inflammation and cancer

brain chip image from Viventi lab

Neural Engineering

Developing new tools and methods to enable fundamental research on the nervous system, as well as treatments for neurological disorders

microscope image from Shen lab

Synthetic and Systems Biology

Including development of new strategies for regenerative medicine, treatment of genetic disease and techniques to establish robust gene circuit function

microscope image of muscle tissue from Bursac lab

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Investigating technologies from biomaterial/cell constructs for repairing various tissues and organs, to stem cell therapies, to immune therapies

Clinical Application Areas

Mark L. Palmeri

Mark L. Palmeri

Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Ultrasonic imaging, specifically using acoustic radiation force to characterize the mechanical properties of tissue, and finite element analysis of soft tissue response to impulsive radiation force excitation. Other research interests include ultrasonic bioeffects and mechanical...