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A Brief History of the CEM

The Center for Engineering in Medicine (CEM) traces its beginnings to a one-room laboratory in the Wellman building at the MGH, assigned to Drs. Ronald Tompkins and Martin Yarmush.  In 1987, this laboratory housed one postdoctoral fellow, one graduate student, and one technical assistant.  By 1990, the group (then called the Laboratory of Surgical Science and Engineering) had grown to more than 10 fellows and technicians, necessitating a move to an expanded 2500-square-foot research lab in building 149 at the MGH East Campus. 

In 1995, the MGH and Harvard Medical School formally recognized an expanded academic and research unit called the Center for Engineering in Medicine, which subsumed the Laboratory of Surgical Science and Engineering, and included affiliations with other bioengineering labs at the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Teaching Hospitals.  In 1997, the CEM was awarded a $2.5 M Development Award from the Whitaker Foundation, and in 2000, the group moved to its current headquarters, a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art laboratory in building 114 on the MGH East Campus in Charlestown. 

Today, the CEM is a remarkably dynamic enterprise with 19 resident faculty, over 30 affiliated faculty, about 29 postdoctoral fellows, 6 graduate students, and 15 technical and administrative staff.  More than 20 individual research projects are underway at any time at the CEM, which are supported by over $9M in research grants annually.




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