UW Today

Department of Bioengineering


January 11, 2016

New master of applied bioengineering to prepare students for translational research

Bioengineering student project.

In December, the University of Washington’s Department of Bioengineering began accepting applications for its newest graduate degree program, the Master of Applied Bioengineering. The one-year, full-time program begins in August, and will train students to apply engineering design and entrepreneurship skills to address unmet clinical needs and to transform biomedical research into technologies for improving health care. The degree will position graduates to respond to market-based demands of industry, medicine and translational research.


January 8, 2016

Stir no more: UW scientists show that draining speeds up bioassays

HeLa cells stained with an antibody against beta-tubulin.

Three scientists at the University of Washington have proposed a way to speed up common bioassays used in research and diagnostics. Their solution, reminiscent of the magic behind washing machines, could reduce wait times to a fraction of what they once were. As they report in the journal Small, biological assays that once took hours could instead take minutes.


September 30, 2015

3-D printing techniques help surgeons carve new ears

Carved ear models

A UW otolaryngology resident and bioengineering student have used 3-D printing techniques to create lifelike models to help aspiring surgeons – who currently practice on soap, apples, and vegetables – learn to perform ear reconstruction surgeries.


June 30, 2015

UW team programs solitary yeast cells to say ‘hello’ to one another

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker's yeast, a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms from scratch. The red yeast cells have been engineered to produce the plant hormone auxin, which "tells" the green cells to express a gene differently.

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker’s yeast — a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms or artificial organs from scratch.


March 10, 2015

An injectable UW polymer could keep soldiers, trauma patients from bleeding to death

a rendering of fibrin forming a blood clot using the polymer to bind.

University of Washington researchers have developed a new injectable polymer that strengthens blood clots, called PolySTAT. Administered in a simple shot, the polymer finds any unseen injuries and has the potential to keep trauma patients from bleeding to death before reaching medical care.


July 30, 2014

Dissolvable fabric loaded with medicine might offer faster protection against HIV

The UW's dissolving fibers could be spun and placed within an applicator, similar to those used to insert a tampon. The inset image shows the quick-release fibers magnified 5,000 times.

University of Washington bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other materials.


July 28, 2014

New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases

An abnormal protein, left, is intercepted by the UW’s compound that can bind to the toxic protein and neutralize it, as shown at right.

University of Washington bioengineers have a designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease.


January 27, 2014

Facelift complications eased with help of new 3-D imaging technique

This image shows a mouse ear after a successful cosmetic filler injection. The filler, in green, rests in the tissue without blocking the blood vessels and veins

New imaging technology from University of Washington engineers allows scientists to analyze what happens within the smallest blood vessels during a cosmetic facelift. This finding could be used to prevent accidents during procedures and help clinicians reverse the ill effects if an injection doesn’t go as planned.


September 30, 2013

3 UW professors honored by NIH for innovative biomedical research

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

Three University of Washington faculty members are among those honored with a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s High Risk-High Reward program.


September 16, 2013

Depletion of ‘traitor’ immune cells slows cancer growth in mice

A stained cross-section of a mouse tumor. In this image, red areas are macrophages, and green indicates the presence of the peptide that can bind with macrophages in cancer cells.

Scientists at the University of Washington have developed a strategy to slow tumor growth and prolong survival in mice with cancer by targeting and destroying a type of cell that dampens the body’s immune response to cancer.


July 23, 2013

Pain of artificial legs could be eased by real-time monitoring

Ron Bailey walks on a treadmill while testing the new technology.

University of Washington engineers have developed a device that tracks how much a person’s limb swells and shrinks when inside a prosthetic socket. The data could help doctors and patients predict how and when their limbs will swell, which could be used to build smarter sockets.


June 25, 2013

UW awarded $10 million to design paper-based diagnostic medical device

Simulated computer image of portable diagnostic device

The University of Washington has received nearly $10 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to continue a project aimed at building a small, paper-based device that could test for infectious diseases on-demand in areas where diagnostic capabilities are limited.


June 11, 2013

New tasks become as simple as waving a hand with brain-computer interfaces

A human brain depicted in a movie poster.

University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that when humans use brain-computer interfaces, the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball or waving. Learning to control a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb could become second nature for people who are paralyzed.


May 14, 2013

Engineered biomaterial could improve success of medical implants

Two tissue samples showing differences in collagen build-up.

University of Washington engineers have created a synthetic substance that fully resists the body’s natural attack response to foreign objects. Medical devices such as artificial heart valves, prostheses and breast implants could be coated with this polymer to prevent the body from rejecting an implanted object.


March 19, 2013

Tenfold boost in ability to pinpoint proteins in cancer cells

Lab image of cells

New research offers a more comprehensive way to analyze a cell’s unique behavior, revealing patterns that could indicate why a cell will or won’t become cancerous.


November 30, 2012

Electrically spun fabric offers dual defense against pregnancy, HIV

Magnified image of fibers and sperm

Electrically spun cloth with nanometer-sized fibers show promise as a cheap, versatile platform to simultaneously offer contraception and prevent HIV. New funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will further test the system’s versatility and feasibility.