Multi-disciplinary Research


At Rose-Hulman, students in Biology or Biomedical Engineering can work on problems spanning fields, bringing them into contact with faculty and students across the Institute. This work is a distinct advantage of our programs. A few projects (past and ongoing) are highlighted below.

Alternatives to Oil

Can algae be a source of biodiesel? That question is being explored by Rose-Hulman students and professors. The project has involved extraction strategies, developing high-lipid strains, and selecting lines particularly suited to Indiana weather conditions. This work has been accomplished in conjunction with Rose-Hulman Ventures, under the scientific direction of chemist Michael Mueller and biologists Ric Anthony and Peter Coppinger.

iGEM Competition

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition brings the best teams from around the world to compete to produce biological parts, educational materials, and functional biological machines. At Rose-Hulman, the iGEM team is composed of biologists, biomedical engineers, mathematicians, and other students with an interest in synthetic biology. The team has earned several medals in its years of competitions, led by biologist Ric Anthony and mathematician Dave Goulet.

Engineers without Borders

EWB is a national organization partnering with communities around the world to apply engineering skills to improve quality of life. Rose-Hulman’s EWB chapter has representatives from all majors. Recent projects include building a brooder house in Obodan, Ghana, designing and constructing latrines and a septic system in Batey Cinco Casas, Dominican Republic, and designing and installing latrines in Gomoa Gyaman, Ghana. This work meshes with the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge “Provide access to clean water”. Led by civil engineer John Aidoo, students in EWB rave about their experiences.

Go Viral to Improve Health Competition

Big Data is increasingly a part of healthcare, and utilizing these data sources to help patients and the average consumer make good health care choices is a frontier in the health industry. The Go Viral for Public Health competition brings together students with biology, computer science, and electrical engineering expertise, led by biologist Ella Ingram. The 2013 team placed 2nd nationally with their “Need for Screen” sunscreen reminder app.

Visual Tracking of Fly Balls

How does a baseball player catch a flyball? Several theoretical models describing how people track flyballs exist, but experimental data is sparse. Digital imaging technology can be used to gather real-world data, and then images are processed, analyzed, and compared to proposed models. This work combines the on-the-ground knowledge of Head Baseball Coach Jeff Jenkins, with the neuroprocessing expertise of biomedical engineer Jameel Ahmed and the model-building guidance of mathematician John Rickert.

Beehive Monitoring

Bees pollinate the major of human food crops, and beehive health is an increasing concern as colony collapse disorder continues to affect hives. Students in the senior design course for biomedical engineering are developing an instrumented beehive that includes several sensors for detecting a variety of biological behaviors unique to Apis mellifera. This project involves remote monitoring of beehives, to avoid the traditional disturbance of open hives in suboptimal conditions. This device will help answer questions about pesticide load, flight and weather patterns, winter survival, and more. Led by biologist Shannon Tieken and biomedical engineers Glen Livesay and Renee Rogge, this work will support both the backyard hobbyist and production apiaries.