About Us

About iCET

The Institute for Cellular Engineering Technologies (iCET) is a partnership between the McCormick School of Engineering, Feinberg School of Medicine, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Kellogg School of Management, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. We focus on fundamental and applied research to develop the next generation of cellular engineering technologies that will enable new capabilities for understanding and controlling cellular processes. iCET researchers are developing engineered tools and systems for cell manipulation and analysis, using gene editing tools for generation of patient-specific cells, generating platforms for cell co-cultures for modeling disease, and using system analysis for understanding inter-cellular networks and cell-cell interactions. The Institute is building an innovation ecosystem to educate tomorrow's innovators and entrepreneurs, advance fundamental knowledge in cell biology, and develop technologies that when translated to industry will revolutionize human health, synthetic biology, materials, energy, and the environment.


The iCET mission is to catalyze research at the intersection of Engineering, Medicine, and the Sciences to create engineered systems and technologies that enable novel capabilities for research in cellular engineering and its translation to industry.

Research Themes

Biological systems are the ultimate in engineered design, from small molecule catalytic reactions to complex multicell organisms. Expanding on the wealth of recent discoveries toward understanding the governing principles of biology will bring even greater control and informed approaches to using biological processes to address societal challenges. iCET research themes involve cellular engineering technologies for applications including, but not limited to, human health, synthetic biology, materials, energy, and the environment.

1. Micro and Nanosystems for Cell Manipulation and Analysis

2. Understanding Governing Principles through Systems Analysis

3. Cell Reprogramming, Differentiation, and Trans-differentiation

4. Manufacturing and Automation


Horacio D. Espinosa Director

Horacio Espinosa

Jack Kessler Co-Director

Jack Kessler

Announcements + Awards

iCET Request for Seed Project Proposal RFP

The Institute for Cellular Engineering Technologies invites applications for seed projects involving novel early-stage research related to cellular engineering topics as described on the iCET website (http://icet.northwestern.edu/). The goal is to support new research initiatives and interdisciplinary research partnerships, involving faculty members of at least two of the Schools participating in the Institute (McCormick School of Engineering, Feinberg School of Medicine, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Kellogg School of Management), toward generating preliminary data for securing external federal or industry funding. The next deadline is April 26, 2016.

iCET Award Winners 2015

Seed Project funding has been awarded to:
  • "Microcontact printing technology for long-term culture of human iPS-derived neurons," D. Krainc, M. Mrksich
  • "Engineering Biomaterial Environments for Achieving Functional Maturation of iPS-Derived Hormone Producing Cells," R. Shah, T. Woodruff
  • "Detection of Multidrug Resistant Proteins using Plasmonic Nanomechanical Sensors," O. Balogun, H. Pinkett


Institute for Cellular Engineering Technologies

Northwestern University 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 | icet@northwestern.edu