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Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering

Engineering Living Systems at the Convergence of Biological, Physical and Computational Sciences

Job Opportunities at CPGE


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. 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.



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


Learn about the research that focuses on controlling gene expression with impact ranging from disease treatment to climate change management.
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Discover mentorship programs, symposia, and opportunities for gaining practical experience available to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
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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


CPGE Awarded Major NIH Grants

CPGE was recently awarded multiple major grants from the National Institutes of Health to establish the NU Center for Chromatin NanoImaging in Cancer (U54), and the Physical Genomics Training Program (T32).

Tuesday Feb. 8: Inaugural Physical Genomics Training Program Seminar

The inaugural Physical Genomics Training Program Seminar will take place Tuesday, February 8 at 1pm CT via Zoom. Dr. Vadim Backman, Sachs Family Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine and Director of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering, and PGTP Administrator Dr. Jayms Peterson will provide an overview of the NIH T32 Physical Genomics Training Program and discuss some exciting developments and the groundbreaking potential of this fascinating new field of convergent science.

NIH Awards U54 Center Grant to Consortium Including MIT, Penn, CPGE

A team of researchers from MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center and CPGE has received a $7.8 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to join an inaugural network of centers that NIH has established, called the Metastasis Network (MetNet), to study how metastasizing tumor cells adapt to mechanical stresses. The team includes researchers from multiple institutions, including Vadim Backman of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering at Northwestern University, who will provide imaging and nanosensing expertise for the projects at the new Center.

CPGE Awarded NIH T32 Training Grant in Physical Genomics

The National Institutes of Health have awarded the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering a T32 grant to establish the Physical Genomics Training Program, the first T32 program in the United States to be focused on convergent training in the field of physical genomics.


Fall examinations end

December 10
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December 10
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December 16
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January 3
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