The Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Worcester Campuses of the University of Massachusetts offer a joint PhD degree program in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology. The program’s purpose is to offer a nationally recognized PhD that is at the intersection of biology and engineering; that will be readily accessible to individuals with a wide range of science/engineering undergraduate degrees; that will address contemporary biomedical/health research problems; and that will contribute significantly to meeting the workforce needs of allied biomedical industries.
The program aims to provide its doctoral recipients with the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
- The ability to formulate/test multiple, original scientific hypotheses related to their dissertation research based on careful observations and a comprehensive review of past and current literature in their field;
- The ability to design/carry out detailed experiments or develop theoretical models/numerical simulations;
- Competency in cutting-edge technical/laboratory/computer skills related to a wide range of instrumentation/procedures;
- The application of their research in solving current biomedical/health problems especially in relationship to new discoveries in nanoscience and technology;
- The ability to function as independent researchers with strong critical thinking, inquiry-based analytical skills;
- The ability to work on integrated problems in multidisciplinary research teams;
- The ability to critically interpret their research results, synthesizing findings from other investigators/previous studies, that will serve as the basis for developing new hypotheses;
- Written/oral presentation skills resulting in publication of their findings and presentation of results at professional research conferences;
- The development of advanced problem solving skills using a multidisciplinary approach;
- Appreciation of the challenges of conducting/publishing research associated with contemporary biomedical ethical issues;
- Grantsmanship skills that will allow them to obtain pre-doctoral and post-doctoral extramural private/federal research funding;
- Knowledge about intellectual property/patents/regulatory issues;
- The understanding of how theory/concepts are related to applied research;
- The understanding of how applied research is conducted in an industrial setting;
- The understanding of how industry applies experimental research to equipment design/manufacturing/product development.
Program Structure and Administration
The following UMass Dartmouth departments are active in the BMEBT program:
College of Arts and Sciences
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Medical Laboratory Science
College of Engineering
Computer and Information Science
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Two Graduate Program Co-Directors perform administrative coordinating tasks for the UMass Dartmouth campus, one from each participating College. Also, a BMEBT coordinator is identified in each participating department.
Campus policy implementation for the program is guided by the UMass Dartmouth Advising/Admissions/Curriculum Committee (AACC), which provides advising, approves admissions, and otherwise gives campus-level oversight including campus curriculum development. The AACC reviews the credentials of new faculty members who wish to participate in the program.
At the university (system-wide) level, the Intercampus Academic Coordinating Committee (IACC) is charged with the responsibility of maintaining uniform academic standards across the four campuses, establishing academic policy, approving program faculty, and acting in roles analogous to those undertaken by a “program” or “curriculum” committee in an academic department.
Also at the university (system-wide) level, the Program Oversight Committee (POC) consists of graduate deans from the four campuses, who interact regularly with the respective deans of colleges participating in the program to review campus compliance with system-wide academic standards and to resolve any administrative issues that may arise. The POC submits periodic status reports to the UMass President’s Office, chancellors, provosts, and college deans.
Program Faculty are identified specifically for the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology program. Program faculty have a research doctorate in a field relevant to biomedical engineering or biotechnology and an active research record in an aspect of biomedical engineering or biotechnology. Other faculty may be involved in the program, as members of a dissertation committee or in teaching courses that some program students take. Participating faculty are members of academic departments, engaged in their academic disciplines as well as in making interdisciplinary connections.
Applicants from many different science/engineering undergraduate programs are invited to apply. Because the degree brings together biomedical engineering with biotechnology, it is designed equally for students with life sciences or engineering/ physical science backgrounds. One’s specific background will be of less interest in determining qualification for entrance than will be one’s personal and career goals, demonstrated academic ability and research potential, and commitment to an interdisciplinary, team-work approach.
Applications will be accepted from individuals holding appropriate bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees (or the US baccalaureate equivalents from a foreign institution). Applicants should have a background in life science, physical science, or engineering. All applicants must have taken a full year (two semester or three quarter sequence) of calculus, and the successful applicants will normally have had undergraduate coursework in statistics/experimental design and in life science/biomedical science.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact participating faculty to explore how they might fit into a specific specialization option before submitting their application and to report on the results of those contacts in their Statement of Purpose (see below).
Applicants submit the following and are expected to meet the standards indicated:
- In general students with an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher will be considered for admission. Applicants must present official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all schools attended.
- Applicants accepted into the program should present a minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) combined verbal + quantitative score of 295. The AACC will also pay particular attention to the applicant’s score on the new GRE analytical writing section of the general examination because of the emphasis placed on strong writing skills in this program. Only official GRE scores from the Educational Testing Service will be considered acceptable.
- Applicants must have a minimum of two semesters of calculus and have strong quantitative skills.
- International applicants should present a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 (paper version) or 213 (computer version). Only official TOEFL scores from the Educational Testing Service will be considered acceptable.
- Three letters of recommendation, from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic ability and potential to conduct original research at the doctoral level, will be required.
- Applicants will also be required to submit a Statement of Purpose (personal essay). This statement is an important element in the application packet. It has two related roles:
- Indication of an applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the program: Applicants should indicate their qualifications and motivation to undertake this program as well as their personal and career goals. Specifically, the statement should indicate the applicant’s background, research credentials, and career plans as they relate to the multidisciplinary nature of the doctorate, and discuss research experience (academic and industrial) and any publications, grants, or patents.
- Indication of how an applicant will fit into the program: Applicants should indicate their specific areas of interest within Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology, so that a fit between their interests and qualifications and the specific specialization options that the program offers can be determined. If the applicant has a specific interest in working with one or more of the program’s faculty, he/she should describe that specific interest and identify those faculty members.
The Statement of Purpose should also exemplify the applicant’s writing skills.
- We invite applicants also to submit a personal résumé.
Individual circumstances can be taken into account, and extraordinary qualifications in some areas can be used to outweigh weaknesses in others. The GRE can be waived by petition to the AACC for applicants with a prior graduate degree from an accredited US institution; an application without the GRE must demonstrate exceptional potential.
Admissions decisions are made at the campus level, under the purview of each campus’s Admissions/Advising/Curriculum Committee (AACC). Each campus will follow the admissions standards agreed on for the program and ratified through the Intercampus Academic Coordinating Committee (IACC). However, a campus wishing, for special reasons, to accept an applicant who does not meet minimum admissions standards set for the program by the IACC may request from the IACC a waiver of those standards in that specific case.
Along with an admissions decision comes consideration of the appropriate program of courses for the applicant. The interdisciplinary nature of our program gives special importance to the advising relationship in forming a specific academic program to meet each student’s specific goals. Applicants may be offered admission with a number of courses identified as conditional requirements that they will need to take to fill in for gaps in preparation or knowledge. Each admitted student is assigned to a faculty advisor, who is identified in the letter of admission. Acceptance into the program is subject to the availability of appropriate advisors.
It is a UMass BMEBT program principle that applicants apply to the graduate admissions office of the campus that they seek as their “home campus.” This will be the campus of the faculty member anticipated to be the student’s major advisor and possible future dissertation research director. Generally, applicants will apply only to one campus. Those applicants who are unsure of their intended campus should engage in conversations with prospective faculty mentors in order to make a probable determination. Applicants unsure of their choice of campus may trust that the four participating campuses will cooperate in sharing information about applicants. The participating campuses will take special care that the applications of well-qualified applicants who would not fit the specific specializations or faculty availability of the campus to which they apply will be forwarded for consideration by faculty on other participating campuses.
Those considering the UMass Dartmouth campus should learn about campus options by contacting the program co-directors. Applicants should discuss any plans that they form through those discussions in their Statement of Purpose in the application packet.
UMass Dartmouth will announce admissions decision dates for fall and spring semester entrance. Although applications may be accepted by the campus after those dates, available spaces in the program may have already been committed. The same dates will serve as preferred deadlines for financial assistance consideration, after which applicants will risk significant reductions in the availability of assistantship support. We reserve the right to offer admission and assistantships to top applicants before the announced deadlines.
Transfer of Credits/Advanced Standing
Students who have previously completed graduate course work may transfer up to six credits, following the UMass Dartmouth graduate transfer policies. The transfer credit may replace core or specialization course requirements. The project/directed studies, seminar, and dissertation research credits will not be accepted for transfer from institutions outside of the UMass system.
Students may also have core courses waived without transfer of course credit. Students would still be responsible for the full credits required of each degree (31 credits for the MS and 63 credits for the PhD), but would not have to take the waived course.
Students who join the program with an earned master’s degree may receive Advanced Standing in the doctoral program. The number of credits required to complete the PhD will be determined in individual advisement, but at a minimum 9 course (core or specialization) credits, the capstone project course (3 credits), doctoral seminar (taken twice, 1 credit each) and 30 dissertation research credits will be required. Advanced Standing students will be required to pass the Qualifying Examination before progressing to the dissertation stage. Students who enter the program with advanced standing will not earn the MS degree.
Campus AACC’s are responsible for overseeing the advising components of the program, which are initiated while each student is still an applicant. Students will be assigned a faculty advisor when they are accepted into the program. The initial faculty advisor will either be a member of the AACC or a program faculty member appropriate to the applicant’s Statement of Purpose.
After the student’s first year in the program, s/he may want to change to a new advisor who fits the student’s research interest and is likely to become the chair of the student’s dissertation committee. Occasionally, a student may ask to change to a new advisor on a different home campus. The AACC of the new campus must assent to the move and verify that an advisor is assigned and other appropriate arrangements are made. The transfer should then be presented to the IACC for its approval, and if it does approve, notification will go to the POC so that the administrators for the campuses affected can arrange for transfer of registration and academic records, and address other student status issues.
Registration Across Campuses
UMass campuses collaborate to permit joint-program students, like those in the BMEBT, at one campus to take courses at another with a minimum of effort. In brief, UMass Dartmouth BMEBT students go to our Registrar’s Office to register and pay for a course offered at another campus (offered either on that campus or by distance learning). That campus provides evidence of course completion, and grades as well as credit are shown on the UMass Dartmouth transcript.
A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Applicants desiring teaching or research assistantships should submit completed applications by March 15th. Other assistance, such as loans or work study, may be available to you. Please refer to the chapter on “Expenses and Financial Assistance.”
Almost all assistantship support in this program comes in the form of Research Assistantships. Applicants are invited to contact faculty about opportunities forResearch Assistantships.
Faculty and Fields of Interest
Listed are the currently appointed UMass Dartmouth program faculty for Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEBT). This interdisciplinary program invites participation of other faculty from across the UMass Dartmouth campus, and faculty also participate from the UMass Boston, Lowell, and Worcester campuses.
Balasubramanian, Ramprasad Interim Dean (2017) and Professor of Computer and Information Science (2000), BSc 1989 University of Madras, India, MS 1991 University of Toledo, MSOperRes 1993 University of Kentucky, PhD 1999 University of South Florida. Specializations: Autonomous Mobile Robotics, Computer vision, image processing, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bhowmick, Sankha Professor of Mechanical Engineering (2002), BE 1992 Jadavpur University, MS 1996 Villanova University, PhD 2000 University of Minnesota. Specializations: Heat and mass transfer, bioengineering. email@example.com
Boerth, Donald W Chancellor Professor of Chemistry and Bio-chemistry and Marine Science and Technology (1978), BS 1969 North Dakota State University, PhD 1974 University of Minnesota. Specializations: Organic chemistry: theoretical and physical organic chemistry, interactions of nucleic acids with mutagens, modeling in drug and agrochemical design, theoretical studies of acidity and isotope exchange in nucleic acid components, allylic nucleophilic displacements, halogen oxidation of oxopurines—kinetics and mechanism. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cai, Shuowei Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2005), BS 1990, MS 1993, Nankai University, china, MS 1998, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, PhD 2001, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Specializations: Bioanalytical and biophysical chemistry, protein chemistry, drug formulation, and pharmaceutical biotechnology. email@example.com
Cappillino, Patrick Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry (2014), PhD 2010 Boston University. Specializations: Solid state and molecular inorganic, bioinorganic and materials chemistry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chen, Yanlai Associate Professor of Mathematics (2010), BS 2002 Mathematics, University of Science and Technology of China, MS 2007 Computer Science, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, PhD 2007 Mathematics, University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Specialization: Numerical analysis and scientific computing, adaptive discontinuous Galerkin finite element method, hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin method, reduced basis method, uncertainty quantification, and data analysis. Yanlai.Chen@umassd.edu
Costa, Antonio H Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (1985), BS 1983, MSEE 1985 Southeastern Massachusetts University (UMass Dartmouth), PhD 1994 University of Rhode Island. Specializations: Mixed time-frequency representations, spectral estimation, signal processing, image processing. email@example.comFan, Qingou Associate Professor of Textile Science (1998), BS 1982, MS 1988 China Textile University, PhD 1995 University of Leeds. Specializations: Textile chemistry, dyeing and finishing, chemical analysis, organic synthesis. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fan, Qinguo, Professor of Bioengineering (1998), BS 1982, MS 1988 China Textile University, PhD 1995 University of Leeds. Specializations: Drug delivery, Biomaterials, Nanotechnology, Chemical Analysis, Color Science. email@example.com
Ferreira, Tracie, Associate Professor of Bioengineering (2011), Assistant Professor of Biology (2005). BA 1990 Wheaton College, PhD 1996 Georgetown University. Specilizations: Molecular biology, developmental biology, tissue engineering. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fowler, Alex J Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1994), BA 1987 Wesleyan University, PhD 1993 Duke University. Specializations: Fluid flow in porous media, heat transfer, thermodynamics, bioengineering/biomaterials. email@example.com
Goodson, David Z Associate Professor of Chemistry (2002), BA 1980 Pomona College, PhD 1987 Harvard University. Specializations: Physical chemistry: theoretical and computational chemical physics, atomic and molecular physics, quantum chemistry methods development, chemical reaction rate theory, quantum molecular dynamics simulation of hydrogen in combustion chemistry and materials science. firstname.lastname@example.org
Guo, Maolin Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2003), BSc 1989, MS 1992 Shanxi University, PhD 2002 University of Edinburgh. Specializations: Biochemical processes, drug design. email@example.com
Hable, Whitney Professor of Biology (2004), BA 1990 University of Virginia, PhD 1996 University of Arizona. Specializations: plant and algal biology, developmental and marine biology. firstname.lastname@example.org
Heryudono, Alpha Associate Professor of Mathematics (2008), BE 2000 University of Indonesia, MS 2002 Southern Illinois University, PhD 2008 University of Delaware. Specializations: Scientific computing and numerical methods for PDEs; specifically: radial basis function methods, pseudospectral methods, numerical conformal mapping, and tear film dynamics. email@example.com
Jia, Xiaofei Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2016), BS 2001 Peking University, MS 2004, PhD 2008, Michigan State University. Specialization: biochemistry, protein structure and function, macromolecular X-ray crystallography, immune evasion by the HIV-1 virus. firstname.lastname@example.org
Karim, Lamya Assistant Professor of Bioengineering (2016), BE 2007 Stony Brook University, PhD 2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Specialization: Molecular and cellular mechanisms of skeletal mechanics, particularly as it pertains to osteoporosis, aging, diabetes, and other health conditions. email@example.com
Kasilingam, Dayalan Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Marine Science and Technology (1993), BA 1981 University of Cambridge, England, MS 1982, PhD 1987 California Institute of Technology. Specializations: Remote sensing, applied electromagnetics, adaptive signal processing and wireless communications. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim, Yong Ku Professor of Bioengineering (1981), BS 1970, MS 1974 Seoul National University, Korea, PhD 1980 North Carolina State University. Specializations: Fiber/polymer physics, composite materials, structural mechanics of fibrous structures, medical textiles. email@example.com
Manke, David Associate Professor of Chemistry (2010), BS 2000 Brandeis University, PhD 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specializations: Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, Organometallics, Coordination Polymers. firstname.lastname@example.org
Neto, Catherine C Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (1995), BS 1983 Southeastern Massachusetts University (UMass Dartmouth), PhD 1987 Brown University. Specializations: Antioxidants, anticancer, and antimicrobial agents in cranberries and other plant sources, structure and mechanisms of bioactivity, purification and structure elucidation of natural products, effects of agricultural practices on phytochemical content in fruits, food science, chemical education in the organic laboratory. email@example.com
Ojadi, Emmanuel Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (1988), BS 1979 University of Ife, MA 1982, PhD 1986 Brandeis University. Specializations: Physical chemistry: chemical physics, synthesis, photophysics, and photochemistry of porphyrins and other biologically important molecules and their analogs, electron and energy transfer processes in the excited states; porphyrimers and laser spectroscopy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Payton, Karen Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (1989), BS 1977 Carnegie-Mellon University, MSEE 1981, PhD 1986 The Johns Hopkins University. Specializations: Digital signal processing, speech processing, speech acoustics, auditory perception. email@example.com
Scarano, Frank Professor of Medical Laboratory Science (1998), BA 1986 Alfred University, MS, PhD 1990, 1993 Albany Medical College. Specializations: Clinical microbiology, molecular epidemiology, molecular diagnostics, mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, and microbiology education firstname.lastname@example.org
Sengupta, Sukalyan Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (1994), BS 1985 Bengal Engineering College, MS 1991, PhD 1994 Lehigh University. Specializations: Physico-chemical treatment processes in hazardous waste decontamination systems, mathematical modeling of groundwater flow and contaminant transport systems, and process modeling of water/wastewater treatment systems. email@example.com
Tandon, Amit Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1999), BTech 1987 Indian Institute of Technology, PhD 1992 Cornell University. Specializations: Fluid dynamics, physical oceanography, environmental and computational physics. firstname.lastname@example.org
Valova, Iren T Professor of Computer Information Science (2000), MS 1991 Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria, PhD 1997 Tokyo Institute of Technology. Specializations: Artificial intelligence, neural networks, pattern recognition. email@example.com
Vasudev, Milana Assistant Professor of Bioengineering (2014), BE 2003 Visvesvaraya Technological University, MS 2006, PhD 2010 University of Illinois Chicago Specilization: Nanomaterials, vapor deposition of nanomaterials, biosensors, drug delivery firstname.lastname@example.org
Wang, Honggang Associate Professsor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2009) BE 1996, MS 2001 Southwest Jiaotong University, PhD 2009 University of Nebrasks-Lincolm. Specialization: Biomedical computing, Embedded systems, multimedia communication, networks and multimedia security, pattern recognition, sensor networks, software design, wireless networks and communications. email@example.com
Wang, Jay (Jianyi) Associate Professor of Physics (1998), BS 1983 Lanzhou University, China, PhD 1992 University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Specializations: Theory and simulations of electronic, atomic and optical processes, ion-solids and ion-surface interactions, computational physics. firstname.lastname@example.org
Zuo, Yuegang Associate Professor of Chemistry and Marine Science and Technology (1999), BS 1982 Wuhan University, China, MS 1984 Chinese Academy of Science, PhD 1992 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Specializations: Analytical chemistry: separation, identification, and utilization of naturally occuring antioxidants and biopolymers; environmental chemistry, marine chemistry, and photochemistry. email@example.com
Dr. Tracie Ferreira
UMass Dartmouth Graduate Program
Department of Bioengineering
Dr. Maolin Guo
UMass Dartmouth Graduate Program
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Four Campus coordinator
Stephen McCarthy, Ph.D. (College of Engineering)
Plastics Engineering - Ball 207
UMass Dartmouth Department Coordinators
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Biology
Dr. Mark Silby
Department of Chemistry
Dr. Maolin Guo
Department of Mathematics
Dr. Scott Field
Department of Medical Laboratory Science
Dr. Frank Scarano
College of Engineering
Department of Computer and Information Science
Dr. Iren Valova
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Karen Payton
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Sankha Bhowmick
Department of Bioengineering
Dr. Tracie Ferreira