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School of Engineering

Thomas Nieland

Research Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

Thomas Nieland

Thomas Nieland

Research Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

Phone 617-627-3931
Science and Engineering Complex
200 College Avenue, Medford, MA
3-D tissue engineering, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease research, functional genomics, systems biology and stem cell biology, therapeutic drug discovery

Thomas Nieland's research focuses on developing novel tissue engineering approaches to elucidate the molecular pathways and cellular and neural circuit defects that cause psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

He has published over 25 manuscripts in journals including Cell, Science, and Nature, and received grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other organizations.

Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, VU University of Amsterdam, 2005
M.Sc., Biology, University of Leiden, 1996
Professional Experience: 

Research Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts School of Engineering


Associate Principal Scientist, Merck Research Laboratories


Senior Research Scientist, Department of Radiology, Stanford University


Research Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard


Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurobiology, Johns Hopkins University


Department of Biology, MIT

  • 2006-2016: Research Affiliate
  • 2005-2006: Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 2000-2005: Visiting Scientist

Visiting Scientist, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School

Research Interests: 

Neurodegenerative disorders are poised to become an epidemic if the ability to diagnose, target, repair, or regenerate the human brain is not greatly improved upon. Current pharmacological therapies have limited effects or do not exist for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, or for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. By developing 3-D brain disease models that faithfully reproduce the cellular composition (such as neuronal subtypes, astrocytes, microglia), connectivity, 3-dimensional architecture, and function of human neural circuits, Thomas Nieland aims to identify disease mechanisms, biomarkers, and therapies for patients. His multidisciplinary approach integrates bioengineering, material science, organoids, optogenetics, electrophysiology, and stem cell biology with genetics, high-throughput drug discovery and functional genomics, systems biology, and bioinformatics.