The Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer

The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute interweaves life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering into the fields of biotechnology and medicine, opening exciting new pathways to innovation and discovery. From complex biological networks to nanoscale assemblies that mimic biological processes, CBIS is a powerhouse of academic and research advancement. More than 200 CBIS scientists and engineers are working here to uncover the molecular basis of biological mechanisms and disease, using biological systems as the basis for new therapeutics, and developing new cellular niches critical in tissue regeneration. More about CBIS

Over Ten Years

  • 40 Faculty
  • 200 Ph.D.s Granted
  • 1,000 Undergrads Trained
  • 2,000 Peer-Reviewed Publications
  • 30,000 Citations (ISI)
  • $130MExternal Grant Funding

News & Events

Big Data Approach Shown To Be Effective for Evaluating Autism Treatments

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who developed a blood test to help diagnose autism spectrum disorder have now successfully applied their distinctive big data-based approach to evaluating possible treatments.

Salt-Evolved Zooplankton Grow Too Slowly To Block Salt-Induced Algal Blooms

Small animals at the base of the freshwater food chain can rapidly adapt to salt pollution – from sources like winter road deicing, agriculture, and mining – but at a price.

Research Focuses on a New Frontier in Circadian Rhythms

A new frontier in the science of circadian rhythms – whose disruption is linked to major diseases like cancer and diabetes – suggests a previously unknown mechanism at work in our daily biological cycle.

Biocatalysis Expert Richard Gross Recognized for Economical Environmental Chemical Advances

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has recognized biocatalysis expert Richard Gross with the 2019 ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry, bestowed for outstanding scientific discoveries or chemistries that lay the foundation for cost-competitive environmentally friendly products or manufacturing processes that are less expensive than existing alternatives.

Flipped Cells Cause Blood Vessels To Leak in Diabetes and Other Diseases

An enzyme activated in diabetics has been found to cause previously aligned cells in a blood vessel to reverse their orientation, creating misalignments that allow veins and arteries to leak three times more blood proteins than normally constructed blood vessels.

Our Center

  • 150 PhD Students
  • 50 Postdoctoral Fellows
  • 33 Principal Investigator Laboratories
  • 25 Visiting Research Scientists
  • 218,000 sq ft modern facility
  • 31, 240 sq ft of open research labs
  • 13,009 sq ft of support labs
  • 27,350 sq ft of core facilities
  • 5,830 sq ft conference and seminar space

In the News

  • For healthier lakes, rivers, and drinking water, hold the salt

    February 6, 2019 -

    Rick Relyea, an environmental scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is tackling similarly thorny questions in upstate New York’s Lake George, which has been called the Queen of American Lakes. Relyea leads the Jefferson Project, a collaboration among RPI, IBM, and the FUND for Lake George, a nonprofit focused on conserving the lake. The project has outfitted the lake with more than 500 “smart” environmental sensors during the past four years to monitor human influence on it. Over the past four decades, according to data from the Lake George Offshore Chemical Monitoring Program, chloride levels have tripled in Lake George, adding to other environmental effects on the lake. These effects include the rise of invasive species and the delivery, through stormwater runoff, of pollutants and nutrients that can stimulate algal blooms. Because it’s hard to tease apart the impacts of these various stressors on the lake’s water quality and wildlife, Relyea’s team has done a bevy of experiments in the lab and in large outdoor tanks to isolate and examine the consequences of increasing salt.

  • Freshwater Is Getting Saltier, Threatening People and Wildlife

    December 21, 2018 -

    Salts that de-ice roads, parking lots and sidewalks keep people safe in winter. But new research shows they are contributing to a sharp and widely rising problem across the U.S. At least a third of the rivers and streams in the country have gotten saltier in the past 25 years. And by 2100, more than half of them may contain at least 50 percent more salt than they used to. Increasing salinity will not just affect freshwater plants and animals but human lives as well—notably, by affecting drinking water.

  • Brain Scans Can Detect Who Has Better Skills

    October 3, 2018 -

    To gain new insight into how highly specialized workers learn skills or react to stressful situations, researchers are leveraging advanced scanning technologies to look at what’s happening inside the brain.