Research at CBIS

Research at CBIS

CBIS is opening pathways to innovation, discovery, and commercial developments in diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, and regenerative medicine.

We are proud of the breakthrough biotech research and development being done at CBIS in Biologics Bioimaging, Biomanufacturing, Biomolecular Science & Engineering, Biophysics and Structural Biology, Microbiomics (Human Health and Bacterial Communities), Neuroscience, and Stem Cell Bioengineering. True to our vision, CBIs offers a new model for research that accelerates discovery by creating collaborative opportunities for specialists to interact and collaborate beyond the reaches of their own areas of expertise.

The results are stunning. Interdisciplinary teams of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and students have created new understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, better drug candidates, and powerful diagnostic imaging modalities. Our contributions in biologics (protein synthesis and manufacturing), regenerative medicine, biomaterials, and bioinformatics point the way to exciting new avenues of exploration. And our new multi-laboratory capabilities in stem cell research provide unique opportunities to combine cell biology, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and informatics research.


synthetic heparinCBIS researchers are creating new drug therapies and delivery systems, focusing on agents derived from naturally occurring proteins or bioengineering new classes of drugs. Examples include:

  • Bioengineered therapeutics, including a contamination-free form of the anticoagulant heparin
  • Nanoscale therapeutics that inhibit anthrax toxins
  • Mapping protein networks using Biocomputation and bioinformatics to enable more effective intervention in biological processes


imaging innovation diagramA stellar transdisciplinary team is developing new innovations in integrated x-ray computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (CT/MRI), optical molecular tomography, multimodality, and other unconventional biomedical imaging technology from molecular to whole body scans.


mass biomanufacturing fatty acidsCreating pathways to more efficient biofuels production is a major undertaking at CBIS.

The ability to efficiently synthesize proteins has major implications for medicine and energy. CBIS’s Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering Robert Linhardt, made international headlines in 2008 with his method for producing the first fully synthetic form of the anticoagulant heparin. Recently, Mattheas Koffas, Career Development Associate Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering Constellation, published a technique to more efficiently produce large quantities of the fatty acids that form the basis of compounds used in biofuels, medicine, and commodity chemical production.

Biomolecular Science & Engineering

Numerous research teams are working at the frontiers of biomolecular science and engineering to advance diagnostic and therapeutic modalities to improve human health. Key research initiatives include:

  • Functionalized acellular matrices for tissue engineering and drug delivery, implantable sensors, and environmentally-friendly industrial enzymes
  • Understanding how molecular proteins develop defects in response to environmental pollutants and chemicals
  • Manipulating the immune system response to tissue and medical device implants to improve treatment outcomes

Biophysics and Structural Biology

Biophysics and Structural BiologyBiological systems and phenomena at various scales from proteins to organs are being investigated to unearth fundamental structure-function relationships and their modifications in infectious diseases, cancer, heart diseases, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.


MicrobiomicsMicrobiome, the communities of microorganisms that coexist with human and other complex biological systems, directly impact human health and well-being. CBIS scientists, engineers and architects, spanning multiple departments, work on both fundamental and applied aspects of microbial consortia in the context of human health and built environment.


NeuroscienceInjuries and diseases of the nervous system affect human health and quality of life. Using a variety of cell biology and engineering tools in combination with advance imaging and mathematical modeling, CBIS researchers are developing new fundamental understanding and intervention strategies for neurodegenerative conditions and injuries of the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Stem-Cell Bioengineering

Stem-Cell BioengineeringCBIS has the nation’s most advanced interdisciplinary stem-cell laboratory, supporting collaborative projects in cell biology, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and informatics research. Multiple stem cell bioengineering projects are working on treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.