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Breakthrough discoveries cannot change the world if they do not leave the lab

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering uses biological design principles to develop new engineering innovations that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world.

Inspired by Nature

At the Wyss Institute, we leverage recent insights into how Nature builds, controls and manufactures to develop new engineering innovations - a new field of research we call Biologically Inspired Engineering. By emulating biological principles of self assembly, organization and regulation, we are developing disruptive technology solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing, which are translated into commercial products and therapies through formation of new startups and corporate alliances.

We have 8 major Focus Areas.

  • Adaptive Material Technologies
    Biomimetic building materials for sustainability that respond to environmental cues like living organisms.
  • Bioinspired Robotics
    Mobile, soft and wearable robotic devices that move, adapt and work collaboratively or seamlessly integrate with the human body.
  • Biomimetic Microsystems
    Therapeutics discovery and drug delivery enabled by microsystems technologies including microfluidic Human Organs-on-Chips.
  • Living Cellular Devices
    Re-engineered living cells and biological circuits as programmable devices for medicine, manufacturing and sustainability.
  • Molecular Robotics
    Self-assembling molecules that can be programmed like robots to carry out specific tasks without requiring power.
  • 3D Organ Engineering
    Highly functional, multiscale, vascularized organ replacements that can be seamlessly integrated into the body.
  • Programmable Nanomaterials
    ‘Smart’ nanotechnologies for regenerative medicine, immune engineering and targeted drug delivery inspired by natural biomaterials.
  • Synthetic Biology
    Breakthrough approaches to reading, writing, and editing nucleic acids and proteins for multiple applications, varying from healthcare to data storage.

Our Translation Model

Through our Innovation Funnel, we harness the creative freedom of academia to generate a pipeline of new ideas and potential breakthrough technologies; enable our staff with product development experience to prototype, mature and de-risk these technologies; and leverage our internal business development team, intellectual property experts, and entrepreneurs-in-residence to drive commercialization, through industrial partnerships and the creation of startups.

  • Skunkworks
  • Concept Validation
  • Technology Refinement
  • Commercialization
  • Publications 0
  • Patent Filings 0
  • Licenses 0
  • Startups 0

Collaboration at a Higher Level

Our scientists, engineers and clinicians, who come from Harvard's Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Design, and Education as well as 12 collaborating academic institutions and hospitals, work alongside staff with industrial experience in product development to engineer transformative solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.

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