Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic Launch New Alliance in Biomedical Engineering

Led by Paul Marasco, Ph.D., a research team has successfully engineered a sense of complex hand movement in patients with upper limb amputations.

Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic have launched a new partnership to advance research and education in biomedical engineering (BME) across greater Cleveland’s growing health innovation ecosystem.

This biomedical engineering alliance capitalizes on the strengths of both institutions’ nationally renowned BME departments to create a unique program with an extensive portfolio of laboratory breakthroughs that led to life-changing treatments for patients.

Additionally, the alliance increases opportunities for trainees at all levels—from high school to postdoctoral education—to study with renowned scientists, physicians and engineers whose expertise ranges from nanotechnology and neural engineering to imaging and regenerative medicine.

“This agreement furthers Northeast Ohio as a biomedical hub,” said Geoff Vince, Ph.D., Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. “After many years of close collaboration, this formal alliance will push forward the teaching and research mission of our institutions.”

The alliance includes more than 50 researchers with primary appointments in BME, as well as another 80 Case Western Reserve researchers located in such disciplines as cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics and precision medicine. In 2017 Case Western Reserve’s BME researchers alone received nearly $20 million in federal, industry and nonprofit support.

“Our departments’ researchers have long partnered on projects where combining their experience and expertise could lead to better and faster results,” said Bob Kirsch, Ph.D., chair of Case Western Reserve’s BME department. “This new model creates a framework to catalyze joint efforts in a more intentional manner, rather than relying on individual relationships or chance encounters to spark collaborations.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Case Western Reserve’s biomedical engineering department is among the first-ever founded in the U.S. The department is home to about 500 undergraduate and 150 graduate students and pursues research to develop new technologies and apply them to a broad range of clinical conditions.

The university’s department also is active in entrepreneurial efforts, as illustrated by the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and several educational programs focused on translational research and commercialization. In 2015, Medtronic acquired CardioInsight, a company co-founded by a Case Western Reserve graduate student, for $93 million.

Cleveland Clinic’s BME department is renowned for its commitment to investigation, innovation and translation of scientific discoveries to enhance patient care. Cleveland Clinic BME researchers are leaders in several major NIH grants, including the $14 million NIH Center for Accelerated Innovations.

The hospital’s BME department has several international research affiliations, including the Center for Transformative Nanomedicine, a global partnership with Hebrew University of Jerusalem that is focused on nanotechnology through education and research. The department also has an alliance with the University of Technology and Engineering in Lima, Peru.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 52,000 employees are more than 3,600 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 14,000 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic’s health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals, more than 150 northern Ohio outpatient locations – including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers – and locations in Weston, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2017, there were 7.6 million outpatient visits, 229,000 hospital admissions and 207,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

About Case Western Reserve

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 4,200 undergraduate and 5,600 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.