Living Systems Inspire New Insights

By emphasizing core University strengths in drug discovery, smart materials and biomechanics, the BioInspired Institute creates new ways of problem solving and finding collaborative solutions that bring together the worlds of living systems and materials.

A student examines a petri dish with Dr. Ren
Dacheng Ren, associate director of the BioInspired Institute, examines a biofilm with students in his laboratory.

Imagine being able to treat a life-threatening injury on the battlefield with a small amount of material that can stop bleeding and close the wound. Imagine being able to launch a smart material-based satellite that can intelligently change its shape to reach outer space. Imagine being able to outwit deadly, drug-resistant bacteria. Imagine being able to predict whether cancer cells are likely to spread throughout the body—and stop them before they do.

These are just some of the scenarios that inspire the faculty researchers and scholars at Syracuse University’s BioInspired Institute. They come from life sciences and material sciences: biology; sociology; engineering; physics; chemistry; biomedical engineering; chemical engineering; pharmacology; computer imaging; and mathematics. They are inspired by a shared desire to work together to confront some of the world’s greatest challenges and alleviate pain and suffering wherever possible. And they come together to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators by engaging students in relevant and vital research.

BioInspired builds on Syracuse University’s distinctive strengths in three areas: drug discovery, smart materials, and the biomechanics of how cells and tissues interact with each other and the environment to cause disease or developmental problems. Individual scholars in disciplines like chemistry, engineering and physics have already brought prominence to the University. Collectively, Institute faculty have attracted $46 million in sponsored research over the past five years; been published in more than 100 prestigious journals; hold more than 80 patents; and are valued advisors to industry and start-ups. Imagine what can happen when some of the University’s greatest strengths and most brilliant minds combine to think through global challenges in science, health and medicine in new and innovative ways. The walls come tumbling down. New ways of thinking through problems and finding solutions are explored collaboratively. New channels for communication are discovered. New areas for research are explored with new opportunities for funding support. 

Like the research it conducts, BioInspired is a new and different way to approach groundbreaking research—a place that brings together two worlds (living systems and materials) to improve life in the world we all share.

This story was first published on September 12, 2019 and last updated on .


Also of Interest

  • Research at Syracuse University

    Detecting gravitational waves from deep space. Developing “smart” medical devices. Probing the historical interplay between music and political power. These are just a sampling of Syracuse’s broad range of research.

  • BioInspired Opportunities

    BioInspired Syracuse is committed to providing hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate students, innovative research paths for graduate students and development of independent inquiry by postdoctoral fellows and trainees.