Rice University Department of Bioengineering


n addition to our strengths in advancing knowledge through basic and applied research, the Rice University Department of Bioengineering is known for its abilities to create innovative learning environments that empower students to collaborate and invent.

In our efforts to continue to grow and offer more to our students, we are thrilled that all bioengineering undergraduate laboratory courses will be relocated to Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative in 2019, thus bringing bioengineering education closer to the Texas Medical Center and allowing for increased synergy between research and teaching. This proximity is particularly important as 75 percent of our undergraduates have consistently sought independent research experience to enhance classroom knowledge.

Engineering principles have long been applied to medicine: Rice bioengineers have collaborated with physicians since the early 1960s. Now in 2018, bioengineers analyze unmet global health needs more than ever. They are involved in all phases of clinical care, from diagnostics to precision medicine and medical device development.

As an academic leader in preparing engineers to work and innovate in this landscape, we have recruited three new faculty members with an exclusive focus on laboratory instruction and biomedical engineering and design. Lecturer Sabia Abidi, Ph.D., Lead Capstone Design Instructor Lance Black, M.D., and Global Medical Innovation (GMI) Director Will Clifton, M.D., bring unique experience to bioengineering pedagogy. GMI, which is a track in the Master of Bioengineering program, has more than doubled in size since its launch in 2015.

Dr. Abidi’s instructional and laboratory methods are backed by seven years of experience in teaching and research. Before joining Rice, she worked as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at the New York University School of Medicine. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Dr. Black served in the U.S. Air Force as a family and flight medicine physician with additional training in aerospace medicine. He has five years of experience in academia and biomedical engineering design working as an assistant professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and as a medical affairs manager for the Global Center for Medical Innovation, which is affiliated with Emory University/Georgia Institute of Technology. He has a master’s degree in Biomedical Innovation & Development and in Industrial Design from the Georgia Tech, a medical degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center, and a B.S. in bioengineering from LSU.

Dr. Clifton is a life-science entrepreneur and bioengineer with a background in medical device and invention education. Prior to his work at Rice, he was the senior director of medical affairs at Procyrion, where he spent six years developing a minimally invasive pump to treat heart failure, taking it from a prototype through first-in-human clinical trials. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, and has a B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California.

Just as invention, education, and research have been a hallmark of our undergraduate and graduate programs, the environment where students work and the resources they use have become points of distinction.

The Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), directed by Dr. Maria Oden, will soon celebrate 10 years of engineering design education centered on solving real-world problems. The Rice 360° Institute for Global Health, co-directed by Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Dr. Oden, has established twinned invention education components between the OEDK and collaborators at the Dar Es Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania, and at the University of Malawi Polytechnic and the University of Malawi Medical School.

Our Biomaterials Lab, directed by Dr. Antonios Mikos and Dr. Anthony Melchiorri, has a wealth of resources for biomaterials fabrication and characterization, and has established hands-on learning environments that aim to grow the future of 3D printing and bioprinting through a variety of research and education programs. The lab is part of the newly established Center for Engineering Complex Tissues (CECT), a multi-institutional engineering research center.

Several short course venues and research symposia are organized by bioengineering faculty members that are also affiliated with research centers and institutes at Rice, the Texas Medical Center, and across the U.S. Numerous special events hosted by our faculty, such as the annual Advances in Tissue Engineering short course, the AAV Gene Therapy Symposium, and the Bioengineering Design Showcase of Innovative Medical Technologies, continue to expand our academic-to-industry relations. We encourage you to visit our events calendar on our home page for more information.

Phone: (713) 348-5869
Address: BioScience Research Collaborative
6500 Main Street, Suite 1030
Houston, Texas 77030