Professor Hod Lipson is imagining a future where robots can self-replicate and even self-reflect, creating the technology that can one day arm robots with a conscience. In molecular engineering, Tal Danino is engineering bacteria that can find their way into a tumor, sense the environment, and release a therapeutic drug to selectively attack the tumor—but not other tissue—in response. Electrical engineer Christine Hendon is innovating optical imaging techniques and coming up with novel spectroscopy instruments to provide heart surgeons with real-time data as they operate.

Lipson, Danino, and Hendon exemplify the many researchers at Columbia Engineering whose work on fundamental science is pushing the boundaries of technology and engineering, and whose imagination and creativity are pointing the way to the future.

“Our faculty and students are, indeed, shaping the future,” says Dean Mary C. Boyce. “At Engineering, we are confronting complex global challenges—water, energy, climate, human health, human connectivity, and even creativity—facing humanity. Our research endeavors continue to advance fundamental knowledge that will impact humanity at all levels— truly transcending disciplines and transforming lives.”

Here, Columbia Engineering magazine showcases leading-edge research that some of our engineers are conducting in robotics, molecular biology, imaging and sensing, and cybersecurity—just a few of the diverse fields where faculty are achieving real-world results and giving us a glimpse of a better future.








(Image courtesy of Christine Hendon)