NIBIB Launches BETA Center to Foster NIH-Wide Tech Collaboration
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has established a new intramural research program to solve a range of medicine’s most pressing problems. The Center for Biomedical Engineering Technology Acceleration (BETA Center) will serve the wider NIH intramural research program as a biotechnology resource and catalyst for NIH research discoveries.
The center will incorporate a focused engineering approach to accelerate the development, validation and dissemination of cutting-edge technologies. Emphasis areas will include biomedical imaging, biosensing, engineered and synthetic biology, nanomaterials and biomaterials, artificial intelligence, modeling, computation and informatics.
BETA will be able to assemble expert teams rapidly for purpose-driven technology development to address urgent national and global health needs.
“Engineering and technology development are central to everything NIH does,” said NIBIB Director Dr. Bruce J. Tromberg. “New tech drives new biomedical discoveries, and new discoveries are transformed into cutting-edge methods, devices and knowledge that can be widely disseminated.”
The center also will focus on expanding diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility at NIBIB, building on the inherent interdisciplinary nature of biomedical engineering.
“We are all so excited about this intramural center dedicated to applying engineering principles to biomedical discovery and therapeutics,” said NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research Dr. Nina F. Schor. “The BETA Center’s emphasis on bringing diverse talent together to solve complex systems and problems will maximize its impact and success.”
Following a national search, Dr. Manu Platt will become the center’s first director. Platt also has been appointed NIBIB associate director for scientific diversity, equity and inclusion.
As BETA Center director, Platt will work to expand opportunities for biomedical engineering training and professional growth, including recruiting individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Platt will join NIH from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in Atlanta, where his lab has pioneered new approaches to addressing health needs in low-resource settings. His research has spanned from technology development for cardiovascular and sickle cell disease to personalized and predictive medicine for breast cancer and HIV. In addition to his experience as a bioengineer and educator, Platt is a nationally recognized leader in diversifying scientific workforces.
“Increasing collaboration within the NIH bioengineering community is key to translating promising technologies into better health for patients,” said Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, who chaired the BETA director search committee. “We look forward to joining forces with Dr. Platt and the BETA Center to address urgent national and global health care needs.”