A Brief History of the Center for Engineering in Medicine

The Center for Engineering in Medicine (CEM) traces its roots to a one-room laboratory in the current Thier Research Building at Massachusetts General Hospital. The room was assigned to Ronald Tompkins, MD, ScD and Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD.

In 1987, this laboratory housed one postdoctoral fellow, one graduate student and one technical assistant. 

By 1990, the group (by then called the Laboratory of Surgical Science and Engineering), had grown to more than 10 fellows and technicians, necessitating a move to an expanded 2,500 square foot research lab in Building 149 at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

In 1996, Mass General and Harvard Medical School (HMS) formally recognized an expanded academic and research unit called the Center for Engineering in Medicine, which subsumed the Laboratory of Surgical Science and Engineering, and included affiliations with other bioengineering labs at HMS and the Harvard teaching hospitals. 

1n 1997, the CEM was awarded a $2.5M development award from the Whitaker Foundation, and in 2000, the group moved to its current headquarters, a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art laboratory in Building 114 in the Charlestown Navy Yard. 

Today, the CEM is a remarkably dynamic enterprise with 13 resident faculty members, over 30 affiliated faculty, about 20 postdoctoral fellows, two graduate students and 15 technical and administrative staff. 

More than 20 individual research projects are underway at any time at the CEM. The projects are supported by well over $100M in research grants annually.

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