Building Bridges to Solve Diabetes


The next generation of high-impact diabetes researchers might spend less time than expected at the Yale Medical Center—after all, these post-doctoral fellows are actually bioengineers enrolled in the Department of Biomedical Engineering's newest interdisciplinary training program.

The program, funded by a five-year $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is the most recent realization of the School of Engineering & Applied Science's mission to develop interdisciplinary research priorities. Designed to address what Goizueta Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, & Physiology Mark Saltzman calls an "ongoing critical need for bioengineering scientists dedicated to studying diabetes," the program will bring together faculty from across the Yale campus, including 12 biomedical engineers and 10 diabetes research experts from the School of Medicine and the Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center.

Saltzman, who is also the founding chair of Yale's BME Department and a pioneer in the use of biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering, notes that his department's relatively small size "allows us to maximize our ability to successfully develop research bioengineers through a comprehensive interdisciplinary training program. This program will build on Yale's considerable experience in the training of biomedical engineers, which will be coupled with world-leading programs in diabetes research."

Admitting five fellows each year, the program will fully utilize the BME department's strengths in novel biosensors, advanced microfabrication, drug delivery systems, biomaterial interactions, PET imaging, and bioengineering technologies for wound healing. Fellows will receive support for three years of laboratory research experience, didactic training, and career guidance, and each fellow will work closely with two co-mentors—one bioengineer and one diabetes expert—to develop their own independent research and "participate in projects demanding considerable scientific sophistication." As Saltzman says, "We encourage our post-doctoral fellows to aim high."