Biointerfaces Institute

Designed to break down disciplinary silos and promote continual collaboration between scientists, engineers, and clinicians, Biointerfaces (BI)  is home to 27 research groups comprised of more than 350 students and researchers from the School of Dentistry, the College of Engineering, the School of Medicine, and the College of Pharmacy, co-located in over 55,000 square feet of dedicated, state-of-the-art facilities. BI leverages its expertise in five research clusters: nanotechnology, advanced materials and drug delivery, cell and tissue engineering, neural engineering and single cell technologies.

The Last Five Years

Since 2012 BI Researchers have:

  • Published 800+ journal articles
  • Contributed 100+ inventions and 60+ patents
  • Launched 4 start-up companies

This fertile research environment leads to numerous research and faculty awards. In 2017:

  • Prof. William Stacey (Neurology) received the 2017 Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award from the American Academy of Neurology.
  • Prof. Mike Solomon (Chemical Engineering) was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contribution to the field of colloid science.
  • Prof. Tim Bruns (Biomedical Engineering) received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.
  • Graduate student Rui Kuai (Pharmaceutical Sciences, Advisor: James Moon) won the 2017 Innovation in Biotechnology Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). He was recognized for a paper entitled “Designer vaccine nanodiscs for personalized cancer immunotherapy,” a joint project between Anna Schwendeman and James Moon.

BI operates from the premise that, without exception, great minds deserve great resources. Accordingly, our state-of-the-art collaboratory features:

  • A configurable 1500 square foot Integration Space where BI researchers and their academic and industry partners catalyze intellectual energy and accelerate bench-to-bedside results
  • Superbly equipped facilities, including shared office spaces, wet labs, and collaboration space designed to promote interaction and spur new ideas within the BI community
  • Strategic investment in equipment that supports breakthrough, interdisciplinary research, housed in stand-alone specialty research centers including:
    • 950 square foot Nanotechnicum for nanomaterial characterization and analysis
    • Optical Image and Analysis Lab for imaging and characterization of a wide range of materials from colloids to tissues
    • Single-Cell Technology Lab for isolating and evaluating single cells
    • Visualization Lab (VisLab), for modeling and understanding complex materials

To further promote collaboration BI hosts a series of interdisciplinary workshops known as Challenges. These fast-paced, two-day events bring BI researchers together with industrial partners and a broad range of faculty from other U-M departments to address a major biomedical topic. A seed fund competition held in conjunction with each Challenge provides funding opportunities that virtually eliminate the lag between concept and execution, promoting spontaneous collaboration.

Challenges Output

6 Challenges

+ $1.2 million in seed funds to 17 research teams

= $4 million in follow-on grant funding

BI’s collaborative spirit extends beyond their faculty to include non-faculty researchers. The Biointerfaces Institute Research Group (BIRG) supports a culture of collaboration amongst our non-faculty researchers through seminars, educational workshops, social events and STEM outreach activities. These BIRG events provide researchers with rich opportunities for interaction, enhancing the flow of knowledge across disciplines, labs, and individuals. When BIRG co-hosted a microposter session in conjunction with BI’s 2017 Inaugural Symposium, research projects from over 50 researchers were showcased.

The Biointerfaces Institute has designed a new blueprint for biomedical research that encourages out-of-the-box thinking, drives innovation, and accelerates the path from basic research to real-world health outcomes, all while serving as an ideal training site for the next generation of scientists and thought leaders.

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