Welcome to the webpages of the Centre for Biosystems Science and Engineering (BSSE) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The central role of research and innovation at the interface of the biological and the physical and engineering sciences has never been more evident than during the times of the current pandemic. The tremendous pace of the development, production, and deployment of vaccines that has changed the face of the pandemic has this research and innovation at its heart.  BSSE prides itself in being a vibrant centre focused on such research and innovation.

The remarkable advances in the recent decades in our ability to observe and manipulate biological phenomena, due for instance to the advent of technologies such as single molecule imaging and CRISPR, have rendered biological processes amenable to analysis and design using physical and engineering principles. The emergence of bioengineering as a discipline is a natural outcome. What sets it apart from other engineering disciplines is the central role of ‘living’ systems on its landscape. The intrinsic complexity of living systems presents unique challenges and opportunities to bioengineers. New engineering principles are being established that apply to biological systems, such as the design of enzymes using directed evolution. At the same time, new scientific principles underlying the workings of living systems are being unravelled, as with the presence of an integral controller in the signalling networks driving bacterial chemotaxis. The activities in BSSE today address these unique challenges and opportunities.

The specific research pursuits in BSSE have important implications. They focus on the development of novel diagnostic agents and devices, formulations for improved delivery of drugs and vaccines, design of novel implants, and other such interventions, for difficult diseases like cancer, TB, diabetes, influenza, and COVID-19. They also focus on engineering living systems, such as synthetic microbiomes, for various applications. The tools of investigation span the entire spectrum from computational and data-driven approaches, to in vitro and in vivo experiments, and animal and human studies. We collaborate with colleagues in the industry and the clinic alike. We are fortunate to be in Bengaluru, the hub of start-ups in India and home to numerous deep technology ventures in the biomedical and healthcare sector.

Our training programs are designed to create graduates capable of driving cutting-edge advances in biosystems science and engineering. A vibrant community of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows leads the charge. We are proud to have initiated a PhD program for clinicians, in order to seed the creation of clinician scientists, much needed but lacking in our country. Recognizing the growing needs of the industry and the aspirations of undergraduate students, we are pleased to be starting a new M Tech program in bioengineering this year. We expect graduates from the program to take up lucrative positions that would catalyse the growth of this promising industrial sector or embark on rewarding academic careers.

As we near 10 years of the seeding of BSSE in the start of the PhD program in bioengineering at our institute, we cannot help but look back and feel fortunate and grateful for the tremendous support we have received from our government, from philanthropists, and from colleagues and well-wishers around the globe. We are humbled and strengthened by their trust in us. We hope in the coming decade to reach heights that would make them proud. I invite you to join us in our journey.

With warm regards,

Narendra M. Dixit