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Intellectual Neighborhoods

In a global world where Skyping with a colleague half a world away or reviewing medical test data via email from remote areas of Africa is commonplace, what is meant by “neighborhood” is being redefined and revitalized. At the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, neighborhood is how we describe our distinctive culture of trans-institutionality, collaboration and cross-pollination both within and beyond the traditional walls of departments, schools, institutions and disciplines.

Vanderbilt Engineering has a long and successful tradition of collaboration with colleagues at other universities and at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the College of Arts and Science and all the other colleges and schools that make up one of the nation’s top research universities.

In developing its own bottom-up strategic plan, the School of Engineering has identified nine major areas of emphasis—nine neighborhoods drawing faculty, staff, students and outside researchers together in the search for solutions. These neighborhoods are not closed nor exclusive: It’s actually common for a Vanderbilt engineer’s research to be part of more than one neighborhood.


Cyber-physical Systems

technology seeks to develop processes, protocols, networking and technology needed for the seamless integration of cyber (software) and physical (hardware, networks and users) systems. It impacts almost every facet of modern life.

Rehabilitation Engineering

involves developing mechanics and robotics to help restore lost physical and cognitive functions.

Regenerative Medicine

works to replace, engineer and heal damaged tissues and organs. Biomedical, chemical and biomolecular engineering research may involve tissue engineering, drug delivery, drug efficacy and molecular biology.

Surgery and Engineering

concentrate on the collaborative efforts of engineers and surgical experts to create, develop, implement and evaluate technology, methods and tools that improve patients’ outcomes and experiences.

Energy and Natural Resources

target transformative research that will enable sustainable resource and energy conservation, production and recovery.

Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics

use physical phenomena such as magnetic fields, radiation and light to aid diagnoses and treatments of disease and dysfunction.

Nanoscience and Engineering

concern the discovery and application of how materials and processes behave on the nanoscale in diverse areas of engineering, science and health care.

Risk, Reliability and Resilience

focus on improving risk assessment and predictability, as well as increasing reliability of systems, infrastructure and materials. It includes creation of technology with increased resilience.

Big Data Science and Engineering

aim to develop tools and processes to harvest and use knowledge from collections of large data sets. The goal is to accelerate progress in health care, science and engineering research and innovation.