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 Physical Genomics Training Program

As part of CPGE’s commitment to training the next generation of bioengineering leaders, the Center has launched the Physical Genomics Training Program (PGTP). Supported by a T32 grant from the National Institutes of Health, the program provides tuition and financial support for predoctoral projects that bridge molecular biology, bioengineering, physics, optics, chemistry, and medicine and promotes joint research between the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and other Northwestern University Schools.

Go To The PGTP Application Portal

 Job Opportunities at CPGE

About the Center

Through a combination of breakthrough optical imaging and computational genomics, the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering (CPGE) focuses on studying and manipulating chromatin structure, which regulates gene expression, in order to treat disease and engineer living systems to overcome environmental challenges.

The Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering is part of the McCormick School of Engineering.



Our Strengths

Research at CPGE


Learn about the research that focuses on controlling gene expression with impact ranging from disease treatment to climate change management.
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Education at CPGE


Discover mentorship programs, symposia, and opportunities for gaining practical experience available to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
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Knowledge Transfer at CPGE

Knowledge Transfer

Find out how the center trains the next generation of scientists and engineers through cross-disciplinary platforms.

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What is Physical Genomics?

Physical genomics is a new field that involves understanding the structure, function, and fundamental principles of the genome. With this understanding, researchers can reversibly regulate, control, and even reprogram global patterns of gene expression.

The Next Frontier in Biological Discovery

"The impact of this emerging field could be widespread: ranging from treating diseases to improving crop yields and mitigating the impact of climate change on plants."

-- Vadim Backman, Director of Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering

News & Events


How a Cheek Swab Could Help Fight Lung Cancer

Developed at CPGE and designed for use at home or in a primary care office, the novel test is based on a new paradigm for cancer detection that uses artificial intelligence-enhanced optical nanosensing of alterations in the chromatin (genome) structure of cells – changes that are associated with the earliest stages of carcinogenesis and cancer progression.

Designing Surfaces to Improve Bone Grafts

The field of bone implants has taken incredible strides thanks to technological innovations that allow for stronger grafts that are easier to install. Yet even with these advances, there are still risks involved in such procedures. Implants can be loosened following operations, for example, which can lead to costly surgical revisions that lengthen the recovery process for patients. New research from an interdisciplinary team from Northwestern Engineering’s Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering (CARE) and Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering (CPGE) could reduce the likelihood of these painful, expensive complications.

New Research Published in ACS Central Science

New research from a collaborative project between CPGE and the Ferguson and de Pablo labs at the University of Chicago was published on June 5, 2023 in ACS Central Science. By leveraging convolutional neural networks and molecular dynamics simulations, researchers from CPGE and the University of Chicago developed a denoising autoencoder (DAE) capable of postprocessing experimental ChromSTEM images to provide nucleosome-level resolution. Notably, no evidence for the 30 nm fiber, which has been suggested to serve as the higher-order structure of the chromatin fiber, was found.

2023 Symposium on Physical Genomics Highlights Future of Medicine

Held April 21 at Wieboldt Hall on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, the symposium is the flagship event of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering, which explores research in manipulating chromatin structure to treat disease and engineer living systems to overcome health and environmental challenges.


2024 Symposium on Physical Genomics

April 26
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Lurie Cancer Center Basic Research Seminar: Cancer Cell State and...

April 30
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Lurie Cancer Center Basic Research Seminar: The Pathobiology of M...

May 7
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Extending Care: A Conversation about Conservation and Futurity

May 8
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

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