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The School of Graduate Studies

About Us - the PhD Program in Biomedical Engineering

The Alliance

In January of 2001, the presidents of Polytechnic University and SUNY Downstate Medical Center signed the Strategic Alliance for Fostering Research and Education in Biomedicine and Bioengineering. This alliance pairs state of the art chemical engineering and materials science with biomedical applications in genomics, proteomics and drug delivery, and also pairs state of the art wireless electrical engineering technologies with neurorobotics and spatial learning. In addition, optical tomography has been a strong collaborative project of the two institutions for the last decade.

In fall of 2002, the first class of students matriculated in Polytechnic's MS Biomedical Engineering program. Downstate faculty members contribute biomedical science courses and also mentor student research projects. Currently, there are over 50 students enrolled in this MS program.

The Partners - Polytechnic University and SUNY Downstate

Polytechnic's engineering doctoral program has been rated in the nation's top 10 by the American Society of Engineering Education, based on a study by the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils. Also, Polytechnic ranks among the nation's most successful institutions with respect to producing science and engineering graduates who continue on to earn PhD degrees.

SUNY Downstate's School of Graduate Studies has two additional inter-departmental PhD programs, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Neural and Behavioral Science. The postdoctoral placements of graduates are excellent. See Where Do SUNY Downstate Graduates Go?

About Polytechnic University

Polytechnic University, the nation's second oldest private technology university, was founded in 1854 in Brooklyn, and is one of the New York metropolitan area's preeminent resources in science and technology education and research. A private, coeducational institution, Polytechnic has a distinguished history of excellence in electrical engineering, polymer chemistry, and aerospace and microwave engineering. Today, it is a leader in telecommunications, information science and technology management. The University is also known for its outstanding research centers as well as its outreach programs to encourage math and science education in New York City high schools.

Over fifteen years ago Polytechnic led the effort to create MetroTech Center, one of the largest urban university-corporate parks in the world and the largest in the United States. Today, the 16-acre, $1 billion complex is home to the University and several technology-dependent companies, such as Keyspan Energy, Bear Stearns and Co., and Verizon.

In 1997, the University launched the Campaign for Polytechnic - Fulfilling the American Dream to raise $150 million to assure its future for the 21st century. In 1998, the University received an extraordinary bequest of $175 million from Donald F. Othmer, a Polytechnic professor of chemical engineering, and his wife, Mildred Topp Othmer - at that time the largest private cash gift ever given to a university in the United States. Because of the Othmers' gift, Polytechnic enlarged its campaign to $275 million to transform itself into a leading technological institution, both regionally and globally. In 2001, Polytechnic announced the successful conclusion of the campaign to raise $275 million.

About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Since its founding at the Long Island College Hospital in 1860, SUNY Downstate has been a pioneer in medicine and science. Its role as a biomedical research leader was confirmed in 1998 when Dr. Robert F. Furchgott, distinguished professor emeritus, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system."

Other breakthroughs of the last 50 years have ranged from Dr. Clarence Dennis' development of the first heart-lung machine in 1957, to Evelyn Witkin's elucidation of basic DNA repair mechanisms in 1960, to Dr. Raymond Damadian's production of the first human images using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 1977. In recent years, Dr. Gerald Schiffman developed a pneumococcus vaccine tailored for elderly patients, while other SUNY Downstate researchers gained new insights into the transmission of the AIDS virus from mother to unborn child.

Many current biomedical research activities at the institution received their initial impetus in the 1980s, when an influx of New York State and philanthropic funds permitted the development of the Morse Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics; research laboratories were rebuilt and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment needed for DNA synthesis and other procedures that now are basic to biomedical research. In the 1990s, Downstate experienced a commensurate buildup in neuroscience, funded by grants from government agencies, such as NIH, NSF, DARPA and Office of Naval Research, and from foundations and corporations. Currently, extramural research funding institution-wide has exceeded $55 million annually - double what it was only a few years ago.

Today, SUNY Downstate is a vibrant, urban medical center. As Brooklyn's only academic medical center, it serves a large population, over 2.3 million people - and one that is among the most diverse in the world.