Lehigh’s emerging biotechnology initiative will focus research efforts on diagnostic and therapeutic technologies with an emphasis on affordable medicine.
The program has three related thrusts: systems engineering approaches for medical technology, integration of devices and systems for diagnostics and monitoring, and emerging technology for novel therapies.
The initiative will build on Lehigh’s capabilities in systems engineering, photonics, bioelectronics, cell and molecular science, and materials science and engineering. It will leverage Lehigh’s research partnerships with world-class medical schools and clinics.
Anand Jagota, director of the new program, says it will attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to the Lehigh Valley. Its launching comes at a critical time. the U.S. faces mounting health-care costs resulting from an aging population. The threat of global pandemic is real and, increasingly, complex diseases are defying traditional treatments. Partnerships between engineering and medical science can address these challenges in a new way.
Jagota says the initiative also addresses the urgent need for education and R&D that can cut hospital stays and drug costs while improving quality of life.
“We’ve completed nearly three years of planning and discussion with students, faculty, alumni and representatives of the biotech industry and government agencies,” says Jagota. “We’ve concluded that Lehigh can make a difference in health care by supporting technical innovation that targets the factors pushing up its cost. Lehigh sits at the geographical center of five of the largest biotech hubs in the U.S. Our engineering strengths align well with the needs of this rapidly growing industry.”