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Strategic Research Areas

Research activity can be grouped in nine intellectual neighborhoods that characterize our distinctive culture of collaboration within and beyond the traditional walls of departments, schools, institutions and disciplines. Our neighborhood model increases the already strong collaborative nature of the school and adds to the nimbleness of how we solve real-world societal and technological problems with worldwide impact.

The ability to capitalize on interdisciplinary research radically advances this mission, particularly given the many important alliances inside and outside the university among School of Engineering faculty; colleagues from other Vanderbilt schools; medical center researchers and physicians; and other research centers such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, DARPA, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies.

Rehabilitation Engineering

Restoring lost physical and cognitive function


Replacing, engineering and healing damaged tissues and organs

Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics

Using physical phenomena to diagnose and treat disease

Surgery and Engineering

Designing technology, methods and tools to improve patient outcomes

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Applying the science and engineering of materials and processes at the nano scale

Energy and Natural Resources

Enabling sustainable resource and energy conservation production and recovery

Risk, Reliability and Resilience

Improving predictability of systems, infrastructure and materials

Big Data Science and Engineering

Harvesting and using knowledge from collections of big data sets

Cyber-physical Systems

Integrating software and hardware using multidisciplinary approaches