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MIT to launch Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

Based in School of Engineering but spanning all of MIT, IMES will be led by Arup K. Chakraborty.

In an email to the MIT community on Wednesday, Provost L. Rafael Reif and Vice President for Research and Associate Provost Claude R. Canizares announced the establishment of a new Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) at MIT.

Reif and Canizares wrote that IMES — intended to serve “as a focal point and platform for research and education in medical engineering and science” at MIT — is expected to formally launch on July 1.

The creation of IMES follows from last May’s recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee to Explore Options for the Structure of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Efforts at MIT.

“We agree with the committee’s conclusion that the new institute would greatly increase the visibility and effectiveness of research and education in medical engineering and science, and serve as a robust home for the ‘unique and exceptional’ HST program at MIT,” Reif and Canizares wrote.

IMES will be administratively based in the School of Engineering, but will include participation from across MIT. Dean of Engineering Ian A. Waitz followed Reif and Canizares’ campus-wide letter with an announcement that Arup K. Chakraborty, the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biological Engineering, and founding member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, will serve as director-designate of IMES.

Chakraborty will now lead a Faculty Advisory Committee on IMES Implementation, reporting to an IMES Steering Committee composed of Waitz, Canizares, and Dean of Science Marc Kastner. He and Waitz will also begin working with HST faculty and leadership to ensure a smooth transition to this new structure.

While acknowledging that “further work is needed to fully define the vision and mission of IMES [and] address its responsibility for the HST program,” Reif and Canizares noted that the IMES concept has received strong endorsements from HST faculty and students. They also cited the support of colleagues at Harvard Medical School, other interested faculty at MIT, Engineering Council, the Deans and Academic Council, and the Corporation Visiting Committee for HST.

“Much work is still required,” Reif and Canizares wrote. “We thank all those who have contributed their time, wisdom and advice during the many steps leading to this milestone, and who will continue contributing during this critical implementation phase.”

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