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Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center

Sub Type:
Research Areas:
NSF Award:

An Engineering Research Center for Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems  (University of Southern California)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The vision of the Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems ERC is to develop the science and engineering of novel biomimetic microelectronic systems (BMES) based on fundamental principles of biology. The newly developed systems will allow bi-directional communication with tissue and by doing so enable implantable/portable microelectronic devices to treat presently incurable human diseases such as blindness and memory loss. The overall technical merit of this proposal lies in developing disruptive rather than incremental advancement in technology.

The ERC vision is realized first by identifying the unmet medical needs in the 2 testbeds of blindness and central nervous system impairments. The solutions to these unmet needs are then developed by designing and synthesizing engineered system specifications from medical, scientific, and engineering disciplines.  Furthermore, to develop these novel biomimetic microelectronic systems, the BMES ERC’s work  is concentrated in three thrust areas of enabling technology that are at the heart of immediate and long-term interest to the rapidly growing medical device industry.  The 3 thrust areas are 1) mixed-signal systems on a chip, 2) power and data management, and 3) interface technology (electrode and electronic packaging technologies).

Education & Outreach

The Education Program of the BMES ERC is of very high priority. The goals are to increase students’ exposure to the biomedical science, engineering principles and state-of-the-art technology that are central to the development of biomimetic microelectronic neural implants;  introduce students to the practical and regulatory aspects of medical device development through courses and participation in corporate internships or industry-based directed research; and enhance the level of interdisciplinary research, teaching and communication, in particular between the faculty and students in engineering, medicine, and the biomedical sciences.  

A significant focus has been put forth at the undergraduate and graduate level in areas related to the work in the ERC as well as focusing on increasing the involvement of underrepresented minorities. The six new BMES ERC courses and one revised course that were introduced have now become permanent classes in the USC Biomedical Engineering curriculum, and all have been offered least once in their final forms.

The main goals for the Outreach Component of the BMES are to impact K-12 STEM education using the BMES ERC as a reference & early exposure and experience to science and engineering to effect future educational and career choices; create a K- Grad STEM pipeline & support a culture of connectivity & community involvement; increase and include the diversity already had and; continual assessment of programs and longitudinal studies. 

The Science for Life (SFL) outreach program is a collaborative science education initiative between USC and Murchison Elementary School. Science for Life introduces young children to the excitement and relevance of science and engineering in their everyday lives. MES is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District and is located in East Los Angeles, approximately 2 miles from the USC Health Science Campus. The student body is 99.3% Latino; 81% of the students are English language learners, and 100% come from families living below the poverty line.

For more informtion, please visit:

BMES website

Engineering Research Centers (ERC)

ERC Achievements Showcase

Institutional Partnerships: 

California Institute of Technology

University of California at Santa Cruz


  • Image from a National Science Foundation-funded ERC.
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