Deepak Vashishth Named CEPM Co-Director

I’m happy to announce that Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D., Director of the Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) and Yamada Corporation Chaired Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been named the RPI Co-Director of the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine (CEPM) in New York City.

CEPM is the result of collaborative work among researchers from Rensselaer and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the field of precision medicine, a personalized approach to disease treatment and prevention based on individuals’ biological, environmental, and lifestyle differences. Precision medicine is already transforming medical practices in areas such as cancer immunology, neuroinflammation and disease, and regenerative and reparative medicine. CEPM will accelerate this transformation and develop new technologies that will revolutionize the way patient care is delivered.

The partnership was first announced in May 2022 and the grand opening was held in March 2023. Jonathan Dordick, Ph.D., Vice President of the Office of Strategic Alliances and Translation (OSAT), and Priti Balchandani, Ph.D., Professor of Diagnostic, Molecular, and Interventional Radiology, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine, were named the inaugural co-directors.

CEPM, the third of RPI’s New York City-based research centers, will also provide exceptional educational opportunities for the next generation of researchers, medical professionals, and life sciences entrepreneurs. As we begin to implement the Rensselaer Forward plan, CEPM will play a strategic role in helping our students and faculty carry their ideas into the marketplace.

As Director of CBIS since 2013, Deepak established new research foci in areas of disease and disease mitigation, bringing focus on Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis. During his tenure, CBIS expanded and refreshed its core infrastructure, adding an 11th research core in genomics, and established itself as a founding member of the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), a public-private partnership focused on advancing biopharmaceutical manufacturing, solving industry challenges, and developing the skilled workforce of the future. These changes led to nearly doubling the CBIS research expenditures to current levels of $20 million annually and contributed to several impactful findings by CBIS faculty in human health and biomanufacturing. Deepak led the redesigning and expansion of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded graduate training programs, and developed new and inclusive research opportunities in biotechnology for freshmen and other undergraduates, as well as Arch students. 

His research, funded continuously by the NIH for the last two decades, focuses on biomolecular science and engineering of extracellular matrix with specific emphasis on chronic conditions associated with peri-and post- menopausal women’s health, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and gut microbiome dysbiosis. 

Deepak is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) for contributions to the understanding of how both age and collagen‐modification affect bone fragility under chronic conditions.

A process for identifying the new CBIS Director will be initiated by Vice President for Research Robert Hull, Ph.D. Deepak will remain as Director of CBIS while this process is underway. Please join me in congratulating Deepak on this new role.

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