NYIT has been awarded a grant of $150,000 by the State of New York to develop a Research and Technology Innovation Bioengineering Laboratory at its Old Westbury, Long Island, campus. The funding comes through Empire State Development (ESD), an agency whose primary mission is to promote New York State’s economy and enhance job creation.
The new lab, endorsed by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC), will bring together life scientists and engineers to tackle some of the toughest scientific problems. NYIT engineering and life sciences faculty and students will work on research ranging from fighting pathogenic bacteria to reducing negative environmental impacts from storm water.
“New York State’s grant for NYIT’s new Research and Technology Innovation Bioengineering Laboratory will support Long Island’s steady emergence as a hub for life sciences research and advancements in biotechnology,” said ESD president, CEO, and commissioner Howard Zemsky. “New York State’s future lies in its well-educated, skilled workforce, and today’s investment is an investment in our tomorrow.”
ESD has awarded NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences funds totaling more than $1 million in support of the school’s Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC) and associated job-creation and entrepreneurship efforts, as well as for the School’s Class 10,000 Clean Room and nanofabrication facility.
Nada Anid, Ph.D., vice president of Strategic Communications and External Affairs, who spearheaded the project in her previous role as dean of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, said, “This lab will enable our faculty to fulfill NYIT’s mission to prepare students for the careers of the future and help propel Long Island’s innovation economy.”
Starting in fall 2018, four lead faculty members will use the lab to work with undergraduate and graduate students on:
- Experimenting with disease-causing bacteria strains to learn how best to combat them with bacteriophages (faculty lead Assistant Professor Bryan Gibb, Ph.D., Department of Life Sciences).
- Using nanotechnology to develop a highly sensitive biosensor for early detection of conditions like HIV and Zika (faculty lead Assistant Professor Azhar Ilyas, Ph.D., Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering).
- Developing virtual reality environments to help water safety professionals visualize a hazardous site before actually stepping into it (faculty lead Assistant Professor David Nadler, Ph.D., Department of Environmental Technology and Sustainability).
- Optimizing genetic tools and developing engineering software suitable for tracking and classifying animal behaviors (faculty lead Assistant Professor Navin Pokala, Ph.D., Department of Life Sciences).
Biologist Gibb pointed to the advantages of bringing together life scientists and engineers, saying, “We have many areas of overlapping interest. I’m already involved with an interdisciplinary research project with engineering faculty, and I hope to provide my students with further real-world interactions on projects that require different types of knowledge and talent.”
In a joint statement, LIREDC co-chairs Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, and Kevin S. Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, said, “The LIREDC has consistently supported a thriving biotech and life sciences corridor in Long Island, where some of New York’s greatest minds come together to tackle the greatest questions in medicine and human health. This $150,000 grant for a new Research and Technology Innovation Bioengineering Laboratory at NYIT, endorsed by the LIREDC, builds on the momentum we’re seeing across the region.”