At Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute, quest for better lives starts with curiosity

By Jeffrey Labrecque and Steven Schultz

Researchers wearing white lab coats and looking at equipment in a lab.

Princeton’s new Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute will promote new directions in research, education and innovation at the intersection of engineering and the life sciences while serving as the home for new interdisciplinary bioengineering postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate programs. The new institute, announced July 18, 2023, builds on many areas of work that were already developing under the Princeton Bioengineering Initiative created in 2020, with 35 core and affiliated faculty from across the University, a new Ph.D. program, and growing ties to the region’s life sciences industry.

The institute, which will be led by Clifford Brangwynne, the June K. Wu ’92 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will be housed in its own building currently under construction as part of a broad new campus neighborhood for engineering and environmental studies. The institute is named for Gilbert Omenn, Princeton Class of 1961 and a notable physician, biomedical and public health researcher, and academic leader, and Martha Darling, who earned her master of public affairs degree in 1970 at Princeton and served in numerous national and state policy roles.