Flexible Electronics for Biological and Life Science Applications (FlexEBio).

Christopher K. Ober, Cornell University)
Participating institutions/organizations:
Binghamton University, Wadsworth Center/University at Albany, Cambridge University, Seoul National University, University of Melbourne, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Lincoln University, DuPont, Endicott Interconnect, General Electric, Kodak, Rohm & Haas

The FlexEBio IGERT aims to transform doctoral education, training, and research in science and engineering fields at the three core institutions (Cornell, Binghamton, Wadsworth) in order to capitalize on the nascent biodevice revolution enabled by flexible electronics. Advances with unprecedented impact, such as mechanically compliant neural implants and wirelessly reconfigurable sensing and drug-delivery, are now within reach. They will be realized if the nation’s young scientists and engineers both understand the fundamental phenomena at work when live cellular systems converge with flexible optoelectronics and have also acquired the vision and motivation to take the lead in applying their unique talents across disciplines.
To accomplish this aim of preparing students for developing devices that integrate new materials at the biology-flexible electronics interface, the structure of the FlexEBio program links (a) interdisciplinary research in fundamental physical and biological science through co-advising and cross-department/institution collaboration; (b) training in innovation and team-based technology management; (c) curriculum development across several fields; and (d) extended internships at international partner laboratories and at commercial facilities for device prototyping and testing. FlexEBio faculty will mentor Fellows in research experiences in three areas critical to fundamental advances: bioelectronic and bio-optic sensors, the material-biology interface, and flexible neural electronics. FlexEBio Fellows will also pursue a coordinated course of study covering topics related to nanobiotechnology, flexible electronics, ethics, and biophysical laboratory methods. These research experiences and courses will be the foundation for student-initiated Team Focus Projects aimed at designing and prototyping biologically relevant devices based on flexible electronics. The FlexEBio faculty are well equipped for supporting the proposed program, combining among them experience in bridging life science and physical science disciplines as well as expertise in flexible electronics, device design and the neurological interface. The facilities available at the three institutions will provide students with a unique suite of complementary capabilities for conducting research and executing the Team Focus Projects.