The Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering (CBTE) is a multi-disciplinary center for training and research. CBTE is Duke University's most comprehensive efforts in biotechnology. The mandate of CBTE is to nucleate interdisciplinary research and educational activities that link three broad areas of biotechnology: biomolecular engineering, cellular engineering, and tissue engineering.
Biomolecular engineering in CBTE concerns the design of proteins, oligopeptides, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules that elicit specific ligand-receptor interactions or that can be used to develop targeted drug therapies.
Cellular engineering in the center concerns the regulation of the external and internal environment of cells for promoting specific expression of biomolecules, improving drug and gene delivery, or facilitating tissue engineering.
The purpose of tissue engineering in the center is two-fold:
- The design or modification of matrices that promote or inhibit specific interactions with proteins, cells, and tissues, and
- The production of ordered ensembles of cells for tissue replacement, disease modeling, or drug screening.
Biomolecular, cellular and tissue engineering are, themselves, intimately linked, and many CBTE research activities encompass all three. For example, cells condition surfaces through secretion of extracellular matrix proteins; ligand binding to receptors at membrane surfaces regulates cell activity; and preconditioning of surfaces with proteins and other biomolecules mediates cell function.
Although centered in the Pratt School of Engineering, CBTE faculty members work in departments of Duke University Medical Center, or have primary and/or secondary appointments in one of these degree-granting academic departments at Duke:
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
- Cell Biology
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
- Orthopaedic Surgery
- Radiation Oncology
The Engineering faculty participating in the CBTE provides expertise in drug delivery, protein engineering, biomaterials, molecular surface engineering, in vivo and in vitro tissue engineering and cellular biomechanics.
Chemistry faculty affiliated with the training program provide expertise in patterning surfaces, protein immobilization, polymer synthesis, nanofabrication, and separations.
Faculty from the biomedical sciences provide expertise in molecular biology, cellular physiology, biophysics, protein structure and function, and tumor patho-physiology. Medical Center faculty provide access to real-world clinical applications.
Combined, this expertise can be directed towards manipulation of cellular and biomolecular interactions in tissues or with synthetic surfaces for the elucidation of fundamental biological phenomena, the improvement of drug and gene delivery, and the development of new devices.