Institute for Medical Engineering & Science

Director: Arup K. Chakraborty | Email | Website

77 Massachusetts Ave • E25-338 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-4418

The Institute for Medical Engineering and Science pioneers novel research and graduate education paradigms to advance health and educate leaders working at the convergence of engineering, science, and clinical medicine. IMES brings together MIT’s strengths in engineering, basic science, innovation, and entrepreneurship with clinical practice and research through its strategic partnerships with collaborating Boston area hospitals and biotech and medical device companies.

IMES students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty work at the convergence of research, entrepreneurship and policy, and diagnostics and therapy in the following research areas:

  • Transforming diagnosis
  • Infectious disease,autoimmunity,and transplantation
  • Cardiovascular and neurological disease

IMES also serves as the home for several MIT health related initiatives. The Medical Electronic Device Realization Center (MEDRC; aims to develop disruptive medical device technologies and is supported by a consortium of companies seeking to transform the industry; to revolutionize medical diagnostics and treatments, bringing health care directly to the individual; and to create enabling technology for the future information-driven healthcare system.(

The MIT Clinical Research Center (CRC; provides a human research laboratory infrastructure to support the MIT research community in its medical and behavioral biomedical translational research needs. It also allows investigators with primary appointments in local medical institutions whose research interests overlap with those of MIT investigators to carry out human subjects research protocols.

The Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics (MBIT; brings together clinicians and researchers to tackle major microbiome-related diseases. MBIT collaborators have access to analytic products to view and interpret their results as well as enabling comprehensive analyses of samples from new studies and deeper analysis of publicly available datasets.

The MIT-MGH partnership supports teams of clinicians, engineers, and scientists that tackle some of the most daunting challenges to human health that we face today. MGH’s clinical mission and MIT’s focus on engineering, science, and entrepreneurship share a research agenda focused on rapid translation from bedside to bench to bedside. The work of combining deep knowledge derived from patient care and research in human disease with the realities of clinical challenges while using cutting-edge approaches in engineering and basic science promises to be transformative.

The Program in Health Sciences and Technology is the primary educational program under the IMES umbrella. A collaboration with Harvard Medical School, the program provides students with an understanding of engineering and the physical and biological sciences through practical experience in the medical profession. They become conversant with the underlying quantitative and molecular aspects of medicine and biomedical science and work closely with faculty at MIT and Harvard. In collaboration with government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, and educational institutions, including Boston-area hospitals, HST brings innovation from the laboratory bench to the patients’ bedside—and clinical insight from the bedside to the bench. (

Doctoral Programs

Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP)

This five- to seven–year program leads to a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics awarded by MIT or the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Graduates are well-positioned to define new questions and formulate novel approaches in biomedical research. The curriculum includes three phases: a thorough graduate education in a classical discipline of engineering or physical science, preclinical coursework followed by a series of clinical experiences, and individualized research projects that prepare students to perform independent research. Possible areas of specialization include neuroimaging and bioastronautics.

Medical Sciences (MD)

This program, which leads to the MD degree from Harvard Medical School, is designed for students with a strong interest and background in quantitative science, especially in the biological, physical, engineering, and chemical sciences. The human biology courses developed for this curriculum represent the joint efforts of life scientists, physicians, physical scientists, and engineers from the faculties of Harvard and MIT. Students are encouraged to pursue advanced study in subjects of personal interest and may combine the MD with a master’s or doctoral degree. MD students are required to complete a thesis.

Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT)

This five- to seven-year program, which leads to a PhD in speech and hearing bioscience and technology from MIT, acquaints students with the field and helps them develop specialized knowledge in a particular research approach. Resources include faculty members representing 10 academic departments within Harvard and MIT; research facilities at MIT, Harvard and its affiliated teaching hospitals; and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. SHBT is the only program of its type in the country and the only doctoral training program in the field funded by the National Institutes of Health. As of Fall 2012, new students matriculate via Harvard Medical School’s Division of Medical Sciences instead of HST at MIT.

Training Programs

Graduate Education in Medical Sciences Certificate Program (GEMS)

This part-time certificate program exposes students to the biomedical and clinical sciences, including translational medicine, and addresses the growing gap between advances in basic biology and the translation of those advances into medically relevant therapies and tools. The program trains select PhD students to bridge the chasm between concept and functional execution with a supplementary curriculum that entails a human pathology course, a medical pathophysiology course, an individualized clinical experience, a seminar showcasing examples of translation, and a graduate seminar focusing on the professional skills needed to succeed in interdisciplinary research.