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Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University

One of the first biomedical engineering programs in the United States, the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University consistently ranks among the best in the world. As the department has grown, our faculty have continued to pioneer new areas of biomedical engineering, with  strengths in tissue engineering, biomaterials, drug delivery, biophotonics and neuroengineering. Duke BME’s ethos reflects the department’s aspiration to advance biomedical engineering to serve society. As we strive towards this goal, we continue to attract outstanding faculty and students who create innovative solutions to the world’s most challenging healthcare problems.

This collection of articles from Nature Research journals is produced with support from Duke University. Duke University retains sole responsibility for the selection of articles.

Sponsor foreword

  • Sponsor Feature

    As the chair of Duke University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), I am pleased to present this comprehensive Nature Reprint Collection, which showcases the breadth of innovative scholarship in the department over the past decade.

  • Sponsor Feature

    Established in 1967 by Duke University’s schools of medicine and engineering, the Duke Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) was one of the first of its kind in the United States and consistently ranks among the best in the world.


  • Nature Chemistry | Article

    Inspired by the post-translational modifications of polypeptides widespread in biological systems, the one-pot synthesis of biohybrid materials was engineered within Escherichia coli using a recombinant expression and post-translational lipidation. The fatty-acid-modified elastin-like polypeptides (FAMEs) prepared, which comprise peptide-amphiphile segments prone to self-assembly fused to a thermally responsive elastin-like polypeptide, exhibit temperature-triggered hierarchical assembly.

    • Davoud Mozhdehi
    • , Kelli M. Luginbuhl
    • , Joseph R. Simon
    • , Michael Dzuricky
    • , Rüdiger Berger
    • , H. Samet Varol
    • , Fred C. Huang
    • , Kristen L. Buehne
    • , Nicholas R. Mayne
    • , Isaac Weitzhandler
    • , Mischa Bonn
    • , Sapun H. Parekh
    •  &  Ashutosh Chilkoti
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The generation of functional skeletal muscle tissue from human pluripotent stem cells has not been reported. Here, the authors describe engineering of contractile skeletal muscle bundles in culture, which become vascularized and maintain functionality when transplanted into mice.

    • Lingjun Rao
    • , Ying Qian
    • , Alastair Khodabukus
    • , Thomas Ribar
    •  &  Nenad Bursac
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It is unclear whether the transfer of plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes can explain their persistence when antibiotics are not present. Here, Lopatkin et al. show that conjugal plasmids, even when costly, are indeed transferred at sufficiently high rates to be maintained in the absence of antibiotics.

    • Allison J. Lopatkin
    • , Hannah R. Meredith
    • , Jaydeep K. Srimani
    • , Connor Pfeiffer
    • , Rick Durrett
    •  &  Lingchong You
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells could be used to generate cardiac tissues for regenerative purposes. Here the authors describe a method to obtain large bioengineered heart tissues showing advanced maturation, functional features and engraftment capacity.

    • Ilya Y. Shadrin
    • , Brian W. Allen
    • , Ying Qian
    • , Christopher P. Jackman
    • , Aaron L. Carlson
    • , Mark E. Juhas
    •  &  Nenad Bursac
  • Nature | Letter

    Intestinal type 2 innate lymphoid cells express the neuropeptide receptor NMUR1, which makes them responsive to neuronal neuromedin U, thereby promoting a type 2 cytokine response and accelerated expulsion of the gastro-intestinal nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis.

    • Christoph S. N. Klose
    • , Tanel Mahlakõiv
    • , Jesper B. Moeller
    • , Lucille C. Rankin
    • , Anne-Laure Flamar
    • , Hiroki Kabata
    • , Laurel A. Monticelli
    • , Saya Moriyama
    • , Gregory Garbès Putzel
    • , Nikolai Rakhilin
    • , Xiling Shen
    • , Evi Kostenis
    • , Gabriele M. König
    • , Takashi Senda
    • , Dustin Carpenter
    • , Donna L. Farber
    •  &  David Artis


  • Nature Cell Biology | Article

    Through a proteomics approach, Qi and colleagues and Long and colleagues identify the sensor of the unfolded protein response IRE1α as an endogenous substrate of the E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in ER-associated degradation, Hrd1.

    • Shengyi Sun
    • , Guojun Shi
    • , Haibo Sha
    • , Yewei Ji
    • , Xuemei Han
    • , Xin Shu
    • , Hongming Ma
    • , Takamasa Inoue
    • , Beixue Gao
    • , Hana Kim
    • , Pengcheng Bu
    • , Robert D. Guber
    • , Xiling Shen
    • , Ann-Hwee Lee
    • , Takao Iwawaki
    • , Adrienne W. Paton
    • , James C. Paton
    • , Deyu Fang
    • , Billy Tsai
    • , John R. Yates III
    • , Haoquan Wu
    • , Sander Kersten
    • , Qiaoming Long
    • , Gerald E. Duhamel
    • , Kenneth W. Simpson
    •  &  Ling Qi
  • Nature Communications | Article

    The encapsulation of a drug into nanoparticles can be a useful way control and improve its efficacy. Here, the authors conjugate paclitaxel to recombinant chimeric polypeptides that self-assemble into therapeutic nanoparticles that outperform Abraxane in murine tumour models.

    • Jayanta Bhattacharyya
    • , Joseph J. Bellucci
    • , Isaac Weitzhandler
    • , Jonathan R. McDaniel
    • , Ivan Spasojevic
    • , Xinghai Li
    • , Chao-Chieh Lin
    • , Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi
    •  &  Ashutosh Chilkoti
  • Nature | Letter

    Quantification of single-cell growth over long periods of time in E. coli shows transient oscillations in cell size, with periods stretching across more than ten generations; a noisy negative feedback on cell-size control is proposed in which cells with a small initial size tend to divide later than cells with a large initial size with implications for the genetic and physiological processes required.

    • Yu Tanouchi
    • , Anand Pai
    • , Heungwon Park
    • , Shuqiang Huang
    • , Rumen Stamatov
    • , Nicolas E. Buchler
    •  &  Lingchong You


  • Nature | Letter

    Randomly adsorbing chemically synthesized silver nanocubes, each of which is the optical analogue of a grounded patch antenna, onto a nanoscale-thick polymer spacer layer on a gold film results in a metamaterial surface with a reflectance spectrum that can be tailored by varying the geometry.

    • Antoine Moreau
    • , Cristian Ciracì
    • , Jack J. Mock
    • , Ryan T. Hill
    • , Qiang Wang
    • , Benjamin J. Wiley
    • , Ashutosh Chilkoti
    •  &  David R. Smith
  • Nature Photonics | Letter

    Using a new form of spectroscopic optical coherence tomography, researchers demonstrate three-dimensional molecular imaging of both endogenous and exogenous chromophores with high spectral fidelity. This scheme has significant implications for a range of biomedical applications, including ophthalmology, early cancer detection and understanding fundamental disease mechanisms such as hypoxia and angiogenesis.

    • Francisco E. Robles
    • , Christy Wilson
    • , Gerald Grant
    •  &  Adam Wax
  • Nature Biotechnology | Letter

    High-throughput synthesis of long DNA molecules would open up new experimental paradigms in synthetic biology and functional genomics. Quan et al. take a step toward this goal by integrating oligonucleotide synthesis, amplification and gene assembly on a single microarray, and apply the technology to optimization of protein translation in a heterologous host.

    • Jiayuan Quan
    • , Ishtiaq Saaem
    • , Nicholas Tang
    • , Siying Ma
    • , Nicolas Negre
    • , Hui Gong
    • , Kevin P White
    •  &  Jingdong Tian
  • Nature Materials | Article

    A one-pot, high-throughput method for the recombinant polymerization of monomer DNA sequences is reported. The method enables the rapid synthesis of diverse libraries of artificial repetitive polypeptides, exemplified by the isolation of protease-responsive polymers and a family of polypeptides with reversible thermally responsive behaviour.

    • Miriam Amiram
    • , Felipe Garcia Quiroz
    • , Daniel J. Callahan
    •  &  Ashutosh Chilkoti
  • Nature Medicine | Technical Report

    In an effort to develop safer therapeutic agents and to limit unintended side effects, Sabah Oney and her colleagues have designed a set of antidote molecules for a series of aptamers exhibiting anticoagulant activities. These so-called universal antidotes are shown to sequester circulating aptamers and reverse their activity, irrespective of the primary sequence and folded structure of the aptamer.

    • Sabah Oney
    • , Ruby T S Lam
    • , Kristin M Bompiani
    • , Charlene M Blake
    • , George Quick
    • , Jeremy D Heidel
    • , Joanna Yi-Ching Liu
    • , Brendan C Mack
    • , Mark E Davis
    • , Kam W Leong
    •  &  Bruce A Sullenger