University of Minnesota
Department of Biomedical Engineering
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Archived News

Graduate Program Welcomes Fall 2015 Incoming Class

Block M

August 28, 2015 - Welcome to our Fall 2015 incoming class, including 20 new PhD students and 22 Master's students! We look forward to seeing what these outstanding students accomplish over the coming years!


Bin He Receives IEEE EMBS 2015 Academic Career Achievement Award

Lazarina Gyoneva

July 31, 2015 - The IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) has honored Professor Bin He with their 2015 Academic Career Achievement Award, for his many significant, original contributions to biomedical engineering research, including brain electric source imaging, multimodal neuroimaging, functional connectivity mapping, and brain-computer interface. Learn more about Bin He's research >


Lazarina Gyoneva Receives SB3C People's Choice Poster Award

Lazarina Gyoneva

July 15, 2015 - Ph.D. student Lazarina "Inka" Gyoneva won a People's Choice Award at the 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) in Snowbird, Utah, for her poster, "Multiscale Model of Strain-Dependent Glomerular Basement Membrane Remodeling." Inka's poster was one of three selected by conference attendees for the award. Congratulations to Inka and her advisor, Victor Barocas!


Bob Tranquillo Receives 2015 TERMIS-AM Senior Scientist Award

Bob Tranquillo

July 13, 2015 - Professor Robert T. Tranquillo has been awarded a 2015 Senior Scientist Award by the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas (TERMIS-AM) for his significant contributions to the field. He will be presented with a plaque during the 2015 TERMIS World Congress in Boston this September.


Steven Lee Awarded NIH F31 and AHA Fellowships

Steven Lee

July 1, 2015 - Ph.D. student Steven Lee was awarded both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award F31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship. Faced with a choice between these two prestigious awards, Steven has accepted the NIH F31 Fellowship, which will fund his research project, "Mending a Broken Heart with Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Stem Cell Therapy," for the next three years. Congratulations to Steven and his advisor, Alena Talkachova!


Julia Brekke Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Julia Brekke

June 21, 2015 - Graduating senior Julia Brekke was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work in the lab of Professor Katja Schenke-Layland at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology in Stuttgart, Germany, to develop a system to visually monitor the progression of embryonic stem cell differentiation. Julia was one of seven UMN seniors to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, which will cover all her travel and living expenses for the 2015-16 academic year. Congratulations, Julia!


BME Students Win Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

2015 Doctoral Dissertation Recipients

June 1, 2015 - Five Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. students were awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships (DDF) for the 2015-16 academic year in a University-wide competition sponsored by the Graduate School. The program provides selected recipients with the opportunity to devote full-time effort to dissertation research and writing during the fellowship year. Awards were given to

Congratulations to these doctoral candidates!


New Faculty Member Hired - Zhi Yang

May 26, 2015 - Dr. Yang is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the National University of Singapore.  He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UC-Santa Cruz.  His research interests include high-precision, low-power, miniaturized sensors and circuits for robotics. He will pursue those interests with a focus on neuroprosthetics when he when joins our department this summer.


Anthony Braun Receives 2015 Best Dissertation Award

May 21, 2015 - Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Anthony Braun, who received a 2015 Best Dissertation Award! One graduate student from each of four groups – arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and education – was chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area. Selections were based on the originality and importance of the research, as well as the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to his or her field. Anthony's thesis, "Understanding the Membrane Biophysics of alpha-Synuclein and its Role in Membrane Curvature Induction and Structural Remodeling," was selected for the Physical Sciences and Engineering group, and he will receive an award of $1,000. Congratulations to Anthony and to his doctoral advisor, Jonathan Sachs! See all 2015 Best Dissertation Award recipients >


Victor Barocas Named CSE Distinguished Professor

May 12, 2015 - Congratulations to Professor Victor Barocas for being named a College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor! This award honors exceptional faculty for their efforts in and contributions to teaching and scholarly research and for their genuine commitment to CSE and its activities. CSE Distinguished Professors receive a one-time award of $15,000 to be used for professional development or research.


Irena Cich Receives Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Award

Casim Sarkar

April 23, 2015 - Congratulations to graduating senior Irena Cich, who has won the 2015 Undergraduate Research Award from the UMN chapter of Sigma Xi! Irena is being recognized for her protein engineering research in the laboratory of Professor Casim Sarkar and she will receive the award at a ceremony in May.


Casim Sarkar Awarded NIH R01 Grant

Casim Sarkar

April 8, 2015 - Professor Casim Sarkar has been awarded a new 5-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the interplay between noise and signaling in cellular decision making, with a focus on cell differentiation. Casim’s lab will use computational and synthetic biology approaches to elucidate how differentiation trajectories arise and will use systems biology approaches to experimentally demonstrate and manipulate these trajectories in the differentiation of progenitor cells. The results of this study will yield deeper insights into fundamental mechanisms underlying cellular decision making and should enable more robust engineering of stem and progenitor cells for applications in regenerative medicine.


Students and Alumni Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

April 3, 2015 - Several current and former UMN BME students were recognized in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship competition! Fellowships were awarded to:

Honorable mentions went to:

Congratulations to these outstanding students!


Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering Student Group Receives Tony Diggs Excellence Award

April 2, 2015 - The Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering Student Group (GWBME) was awarded the 2014 Tony Diggs Excellence Award for Outstanding Graduate/Professional Student Group at the University of Minnesota! The award includes, among other things, special recognition on the Student Unions and Activities Student Group Directory, an announcement in the Minnesota Daily, a Goldy's Gameroom party, and a trophy proudly displayed in the BME front office. Congratulations to the hard-working GWBME officers and to their advisor for this prestigious and well-deserved award!


Professor Bob Tranquillo Elected Fellow of IAMBE

February 16, 2015 - Bob was elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), in honor of his distinguished contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering at an international level.


Cory Gloeckner and Julia Quindlen Awarded 2015-16 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships

February 5, 2015 - The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship (IDF) provides a unique opportunity for outstanding doctoral students whose research is interdisciplinary and who would benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University’s interdisciplinary research centers or institutes.  

Cory Gloeckner, advised by Prof. Hubert Lim (BME), will complete his research project, "Holistic Neuromodulation: Bridging the Gap Between Western and Complementary Medicine to Better Treat Brain Disorders," in collaboration with Prof. Mary Johnson at the Center for Spirituality and Healing.

Julia Quindlen is a 4th-year PhD student advised by Prof. Victor Barocas (BME) and co-advised by Prof. Martha Flanders (Neuroscience). Her project, "Mechano-to-Neural Transduction of the Pacinian Corpuscle," will be completed under their mentorship at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine.

Congratulations to Cory and Julia!


Assistant Professor Matthew Johnson Receives UMN McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

January 29, 2015 - Matt was one of eight chosen this year across the university for this highly competitive Professorship, whose major purpose is to nurture the careers of the University of Minnesota's most promising junior faculty members in order to strengthen the faculty for the future.  The program is designed to advance the careers of assistant professors who have the potential to make significant contributions to their scholarly fields.


Bachelor's Program Highlighted by NerdScholar
(July 15, 2014)

Our undergraduate program was selected for "Most Industry Experience" among seven U.S. programs highlighted. Read the full article.


New Faculty Member Hired: Casim Sarkar
(May 17, 2013)

Dr. Sarkar is currently an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Biochemistry at the University of Zurich before starting his position at Penn in 2006.  Prof. Sarkar was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2011.  His research interests include engineering protein agonists, antagonists, and enzymes; understanding cellular decision making in lineage commitment; and network analysis and cellular programming through synthetic biology.   He will pursue those interests along with a new project aimed at re-engineering bacteria for oral delivery of proteins he when joins our department this summer.


New Faculty Member Hired: Brenda Ogle
(February 8, 2013)

Dr. Ogle is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Prof. Ogle received her Ph.D. from our program and was a Research Fellow and then Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine before starting her position at Madison in 2006.  Among several interests, she has performed pioneering research in identifying and monitoring stem cell fusion in vivo, including the development of innovative microfluidic/microscopy systems. She was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2009.  Brenda will pursue her interests in the role of cell fusion in cardiac regeneration and tumor metastasis when she joins our department this summer.


Department Receives GAANN Award in Cardiovascular Engineering
(September 5, 2012)

The Department of Education has awarded Professor Victor Barocas (Director of Graduate Studies) with a $400K Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant. This 3-year award provides fellowship funding for doctoral students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue research in cardiovascular engineering.


Prof. Bin He Named Director of the University of Minnesota's Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM)
(July 10, 2012)

Bin has been named Director of the IEM and will begin his 5-year appointment on August 15, 2012.  The Institute for Engineering in Medicine is an interdisciplinary collaboration aimed at strengthening research between engineering and medicine at the University of Minnesota. The Institute is run jointly by the Academic Health Center and the College of Science and Engineering. The Medical Devices Center, Center for Neuroengineering, and Biopreservation Core Resource are all research centers within IEM.  Since 2005, the IEM has invested more than $5 million supporting more than 90 health engineering research projects.  These projects have helped generate ideas and proposals that have brought nearly $24 million in additional funding to the University from external sources.  Bin served as associate director for research for IEM since 2010 and also serves as director of the Center for Neuroengineering, director of the NSF IGERT Neuroengineering Training Program and director of the NIH Neuroimaging Training Program.


St. Jude Medical Provides Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships
(June 21, 2012)

For the second time, St. Jude Medical is contributing $50,000 for an endowment to support new BME graduate students as St. Jude Medical Fellows for their first semester of study. This is another gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall. It also reflects a growing presence of St. Jude Medical at UMN.


New Faculty Member Hired: Paolo Provenzano
(May 24, 2012)

Dr. Provenzano is currently a Research Associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle studying therapies against pancreatic cancer progression (since 2009).  He was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology at UW-Madison (2003-2009) where he studied the role of the extracellular matrix on breast cancer metastasis. He received his Ph.D. in BME at UW-Madison in 2003 studying the biomechanics of damaged collagenous tissues.  Paolo will pursue his research in cancer therapies and mechanisms of metastasis when he joins our department in August, 2012.


New Faculty Member Hired: David Wood
(May 24, 2012)

Dr. Wood is currently an NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT advised by Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia (since 2007) where he has focused on developing novel disease biomarkers, especially for sickle cell disease, and using microscale/MEMS tools to build new assays for studying disease, including DNA damage and repair and cancer metastasis.  His PhD was obtained in Physics under the advising of Prof. Andrew Cleland at UCSB in the area of microfluidic sensors for high-throughput cell and particle counting.  Dave will pursue his interests in applying microfluidics to medical and biological problems when he joins our department in August, 2012.


Prof. John Bischof selected for the Van C. Mow Medal
(April 13, 2012)

John was selected for this honor that is awarded annually by the ASME Bioengineering Division to one individual who has made significant contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, as a mentor to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community.  John is internationally recognized for his research in bioheat and mass transfer and nanomedicine.


Prof. Victor Barocas selected for the George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research
(April 13, 2012)

Victor was selected for this honor which is awarded annually to one member of the faculty of the UMN College of Science & Engineering to recognize the outstanding research of a mid-career faculty member. Victor's selection reflects his pioneering research in computational tissue biomechanics and biotransport, with emphasis on ocular, cardiovascular, and tissue engineering applications. He is widely known for his innovation and rigor, and he has been prolific as well, having published more than 80 refereed journal articles to date, mainly in the most respected journals in his areas. Victor previously received the George W. Taylor Career Development Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching by a candidate for tenure.


Professor Wei Shen Receives NSF CAREER Award
(January 25, 2012)

Wei was selected for this prestigious award based on her research proposal, "Multifunctional Dynamic Surfaces for Engineering Cell Microenvironments."  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.


University Receives NSF Funding for IGERT Systems Neuroengineering Training Program
(September 10, 2011)

The University of Minnesota has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for a new Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program in Systems Neuroengineering. Professor Bin He is the program director and lead PI. Over the next five years the NSF grant will provide $3 million in funding, supporting six new doctoral trainees per year. Trainees will develop the skills to revolutionize technologies for interfacing with the brain and to advance our fundamental understanding of neuroscience processes. Find out more at the IGERT Systems Neuroengineering website.


Professor Bin He's Research Featured at the National Science Foundation
(October 19, 2011)

The unique brain-computer interface developed by Bin He and its use to control flight of a virtual helicopter is featured on NSF's SEE Innovation website as "Flying High With Brain Waves" ; and on ABC News as "Brain Waves Used to Steer Helicopter on Computer Screen, Offers Hope to the Disabled" (links open new window/tab).


Congratulations, BME Class of 2011!
(May 6, 2011)

On Friday, May 6, the Department celebrated the achievements of our 80 graduating seniors during the BME Commencement Receptions at the TCF Bank Stadium. Department Head Bob Tranquillo, Adjunct Professor Bruce KenKnight, and senior Vanessa Buie delivered remarks during the program. Congratulations to our seniors!


Medtronic Provides Major Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships
(January 10, 2011)

For the second time, Medtronic will contribute $500,000 to help build an endowment, matched by UMN funds, to support new BME graduate students as Medtronic Fellows for their first semester of study. This is another major gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall semester. Medtronic is the largest independent medical device company in the world, with major operations and its headquarters located in the Twin Cities, and historically employs the majority of graduates from the BME Graduate Program who join local LifeScience Alley companies.


St. Jude Medical Makes Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships
(January 10, 2011)

St. Jude Medical will contribute $100,000 for an endowment, matched by UMN funds, to support new BME graduate students as St. Jude Medical Fellows for their first semester of study. This is another gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall. It also reflects a growing presence of St. Jude Medical at UMN.


Professor David Odde Elected Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society
(November 29, 2010)

The 2010 class of BMES Fellows were nominated by their peers and elected by the BMES Fellows Committee.  Recipients of this honor are recognized for their outstanding contributions and achievements in biomedical engineering.


Professor Tay Netoff Receives NSF CAREER Award
(November 29, 2010)

Tay was selected for this prestigious award based on his research proposal, "Bridging epileptogenic molecular level changes to neuronal network synchrony to reveal basic mechanisms of epilepsy."  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.


News Release: U of M researchers find learning in the visual brain
(November 10, 2010)

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering have found that an early part of the brain’s visual system rewires itself when people are trained to perceive patterns, and have shown for the first time that this neural learning appears to be independent of higher order conscious visual processing. Click here for the full news release.


New Faculty Member Hired: Pat Alford
(September 5, 2010)

Pat is currently a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Kit Parker in SEAS at Harvard.  He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in 2007, developing computational biomechanics models of artery growth and remodeling under the advising of Larry Taber.  Since joining the Parker lab, Pat has investigated contractile properties of tissues sheets from patterned smooth muscle cells. As an independent investigator at UMN, Pat plans to pursue a new hypothesis for blast-induced traumatic brain injury arising from associated vasospasm and to continue his interests in the biomechanical basis of tissue morphogenesis. Pat will join our department in January, 2011.


Department Launches Combined BBmE/MS Degree Program
(August 2, 2010)

The new Combined BBmE/MS Degree Program will allow selected BME majors interested in an industrial design career to earn both a Bachelor's and a Master's-Plan B degree in five years. Click here for more details about the program.


Boston Scientific Makes Another Gift for Endowed BME Graduate Student Fellowships
(May 27, 2010)





Matt Johnson is currently an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cleveland Clinic under the advising of Drs. Jerry Vitek and Cameron McIntyre. He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan in 2007 under the advising of Dr. Daryl Kipke. His general research areas are development of implantable microelectrodes for functional stimulation (Ph.D.) and deep brain stimulation, both FEM modeling and neurophysiological recordings, to improve treatment of Parkinson’s disease (Postdoc). His research plans include extending his Postdoc studies to understand adaptation of the brain to long-term DBS, to optimize DBS parameters based on improved understanding from the recordings and modeling, and to develop novel microelectrode arrays as part of the optimization. Dr. Johnson will join our department in December, 2009.


Rebecca Szarkowski Awarded National Astronaut Foundation Scholarship
(September 2009)

Rebecca is one of 18 students nationwide selected to receive the 2009-2010 scholarship award. The scholarship is given to top engineering and science students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in their field of study. It is the highest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering students at the undergraduate level based solely on merit.


Melissa Gardner Wins 2009 Best Dissertation Award
(May 2009)

Melissa Gardner won the Graduate School's 2009 Best Dissertation Award in Physical Sciences and Engineering for her thesis, "Modeling and analysis of microtubule-mediated chromosome transport during mitosis" (advisor: David Odde). Dr. Gardner completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in August 2008. In August 2009 she will begin her Post Doctoral Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.


Prof. David Odde selected for the George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research

Dave was selected for this honor which is awarded annually to one member of the faculty of the UMN Institute of Technology to recognize the outstanding research of a mid-career faculty member. Dave's selection reflects his pioneering research in the molecular mechanics of cell growth and division, including, most recently, the mechanochemical basis of chromosome segregation and of cell migration, which underlie cancer progression.


Prof. Bin He Named Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Bin was selected as one of this year's four Distinguished McKnight University Professors. The purpose of the Professorship is to recognize and reward the University's most outstanding mid-career faculty. The awardees were chosen on the merit of their scholarly achievements and the potential for greater attainment in the field; the extent to which their achievements have brought distinction to the University of Minnesota; the quality of their teaching and advising; and their contributions to the wider community. Bin's selection reflects his international leadership in electrophysiological imaging, specifically, cardiac and neural imaging, including development of groundbreaking methods to map the origins of electrical signals from ECG, EEG, and MRI/BOLD images.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Hubert (Hugh) Lim

Hugh Lim is currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Hannover Medical University (Germany). He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan in 2005 under the advising of Prof. David Anderson. His general research areas are neural prostheses and auditory neuroscience. Dr. Lim pioneered the auditory midbrain implant (AMI) at Michigan for direct functional stimulation of the brain to correct hearing loss of patients untreatable by cochlear implants. He is involved in clinical studies of the AMI at Hannover. His research plans at UMN include further development of the AMI in animal models (to elucidate information processing in the auditory system) and further clinical trials. He also proposes to treat tinnitus using the AMI. Dr. Lim will join our department in summer, 2009.


ABET Accreditation Renewed

Following a review that occurred Fall 2008, our Bachelor's of Biomedical Engineering Program received continuation of accreditation from the organization ABET that accredits bachelor's programs nationally.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Alena Talkachova

Alena Talkachova earned her Ph.D. in Physics in 2003 at the Nonlinear Institute in Nice. She then shifted from nonlinear optics and laser physics into her current and future research area of cardiac electrophysiology / dynamics while a Research Associate at Duke from 2001-2004, where she modeled cardiac excitation dynamics, advised by faculty in physics (Dr. Gauthier) and biomedical engineering (Dr. Krassowska). She was most recently a Research Assistant professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University, where she also completed a postdoctoral stint working with a world leader in cardiomyocyte ion channels and their role in cardiac excitation (Dr. Jalife). Her training has thus uniquely prepared her to both measure and model cell properties and their tissue-level manifestation in normal cardiac function and in arrhythmias, with her particular interest being ventricular fibrillation (VF). Her research, which combines cardiomyocyte ion channel flux measurements to optical voltage maps of the heart, can lead to new drugs and pacing therapies to mitigate VF before it spirals to sudden cardiac death. Prof. Talkachova will join our department in summer, 2008.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Shai Ashkenazi

Shai Ashkenazi earned his Ph.D. in Physics in 1997 at the Weizmann Institute and then worked for three medical device companies related to ultrasound and biomedical optics until 2003. He then joined the group of Prof. Matt O'Donnell in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan as a postdoctoral researcher and most recently held the position of Research Scientist. He has focused on optoacoustic transducers for high-resolution imaging and photoacoustics for functional and molecular imaging. His research plans at UMN include the development of novel imaging devices for image guided therapy, including ultrasound probes for prostate cancer detection and for 3D intracardiac imaging to guide RF ablation. He also proposes to image tumor hypoxia with photoacoustic lifetime imaging. Prof. Ashkenazi will join our department fall semester, 2008.


Professors Chun Wang and Tanner Akkin Receive UMN's McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

Chun and Tanner were chosen for this highly competitive Professorship, whose major purpose is to nurture the careers of the University of Minnesota's most promising junior faculty members in order to strengthen the faculty for the future.  The program is designed to advance the careers of assistant professors who have the potential to make significant contributions to their scholarly fields.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Theoden (Tay) Netoff

Tay Netoff is completing a 5-year postdoc at Boston University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering under the advising of Prof. John White and support from an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship. He earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from George Washington University working with Prof. Steven Schiff and supported by an NIH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship. For his dissertation research he investigated the origin of nonlinear neural network dynamics using patch clamp recordings of hippocampal slices in vitro along with computational modeling. For his postdoctoral research, he developed dynamic patch clamping and simultaneous calcium imaging to further investigate these dynamics and extend his models, focusing on synchronization and its implications for epileptic seizures. Dr. Netoff will join our department fall semester, 2006.


Medtronic Provides Major Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships

The Medtronic Foundation and the Medtronic, Inc. Corporate Science and Technology division will jointly contribute $500,000 over five years to help build an endowment, matched by UMN funds, to support new BME graduate students as Medtronic Fellows for their first semester of study. This is the second major gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall semester. Medtronic is the largest independent medical device company in the world, with major operations and its headquarters located in the Twin Cities, and historically employs the majority of graduates from the BME Graduate Program who join Medical Alley companies.


Professor Chun Wang Receives NSF CAREER Award

Chun was selected for this prestigious award based on his research proposal "Biomimetic Engineering of Responsive Biomaterials."  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.


Boston Scientific Makes Lead Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships

Chief Technology Officer, Fred Colen, has notified the UMN Foundation that Boston Scientific will contribute $500,000 over five years to build an endowment, matched by UMN funds, to support new BME graduate students as Boston Scientific Fellows for their first semester of study. This is the lead gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall.  It reflects the growing presence of Boston Scientific, which acquired SciMed and is making a major expansion of the Maple Grove facility, in Medical Alley and at UMN.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Taner Akkin

Taner Akkin is completing a 2-year postdoc at Harvard Medical School and Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital under the advising of Prof. Johannes de Boer. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas-Austin working with Profs. Thomas Milner and H. Grady Rylander III. For his dissertation research he developed the first non-contact optical measurement of transient neural surface displacement (i.e. sub-nanometer spatial resolution with microsecond temporal resolution). For his postdoctoral research, he is developing interferometric (OCT) techniques to image depth-resolved tissue microstructures and function, with applications in ophthalmology in particular. Dr. Akkin will join our department fall semester, 2005.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Jonathan Sachs

Dr. Sachs is completing a 2-year NIH NRSA postdoc at Yale University in the Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics under the advising of Prof. Donald Engelman. He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University where he held a Whitaker Foundation Graduate Fellowship working with Prof. Thomas Woolf. For his dissertation research he developed molecular dynamics simulations and implicit solvent models of ion penetration into lipid bilayers. For his postdoctoral research he is conducting Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS, no pun intended) experiments to determine how membrane proteins affect membrane thickness. His future research interests include the study of macromolecular interactions with biomembranes during drug delivery.  Dr. Sachs will join our department fall semester, 2006.


Professor Victor Barocas Receives George W. Taylor Career Development Award

Victor was selected as the sole recipient of the George W. Taylor Career Development Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching by a candidate for tenure. See http://www.it.umn.edu/faculty/awards/taylor_career.html.  He was also a successful candidate, being promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.


Lynn Otten Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering Established

Kelly Dockendorf (senior) and Santhi Elayaperumal (junior) have been selected for the Lynn Otten Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering for the 2004-2005 academic year.  Dr. Lynn Otten, who pioneered the deep brain stimulator at Medtronic, established the scholarship endowment to encourage women students to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota.  The  scholarship is awarded each year to an entering junior based on her academic achievement and is renewable the senior year.


ABET Accreditation Attained

Following a review that occurred Fall 2003, our Bachelor's of Biomedical Engineering Program received accreditation from the organization ABET that accredits bachelor's programs nationally. The accreditation is retroactive to degrees granted since October, 2002.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Wei Shen

Dr. Wei Shen is completing her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at CalTech under the advising of Profs. David Tirrell and Julia Kornfield. Her work has focused on characterizing self-assembled "leucine zipper" hydrogels, which can serve as cell scaffolds, including biological synthesis of the polymers.  Dr. Shen's future work will revolve around the synthesis of novel biomolecules that can be used to directly probe cell-material interactions. She will be pursuing postdoctoral studies for two years with Prof. Scott Fraser at Caltech and then join our department fall semester, 2006.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Chun Wang

Dr. Chun Wang is currently an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Bob Langer at MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering in 2001 at the University of Utah with Prof. Jindrich Kopecek. His work focuses in molecularly-engineered biomaterials, with applications to protein-based vectors for delivery of genetic therapeutics (i.e. DNA vaccines) and hydrogels for tissue scaffolds. Dr. Wang will join our department fall semester, 2004.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Bin He

Prof. He is currently Full Professor of Bioengineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 1988 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard-MIT HST program prior to joining UIC. His research is in the development of electrophysiological and multimodal neuroimaging methods with particular interests in noninvasive determination of eliptogenic foci. He has a parallel program in cardiac imaging aimed at localizing sources of cardiac arrhythmia. Prof. He will join the Department in January 2004.


First Graduating Class in the BME Bachelor's Degree Program

The first class of 27 students that took the complete curriculum graduated in May. Given the program was announced just 3 years previously, this underscores the popularity and rapid growth of this long-awaited degree at the University of Minnesota. Among our 35 graduates to date, about one-half are employed or are seeking employment (most with companies in Medical Alley), about one-fourth have begun graduate studies (including CalTech, MIT, U. California-SF, U. Michigan, and U. Washington), and the remaining one-fourth have either begun or are seeking enrollment in health professional or business school programs, or are working as research associates. Our program is scheduled to be reviewed by the accreditation board, ABET, in the fall.


Professor Bob Tranquillo Named Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Bob was selected as one of this year's four Distinguished Mcknight University Professors. The purpose of the Professorship is to recognize and reward the University's most outstanding mid-career faculty. The winners were chosen on the merit of their scholarly achievements and the potential for greater attainment in the field; the extent to which their achievements have brought distinction to the University of Minnesota; the quality of their teaching and advising; and their contributions to the wider community.


New Faculty Member Hired: Prof. Mark A. Nicosia

Mark is presently a Research Associate in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery where he is investigating heart valve mechanics, including a coupled solid-fluid model of leaflet motion during the cardiac cycle. He already completed another two-year postdoc at Madison in the Institute of Aging on research related to his doctoral dissertation on esaphogyal mechanics. Mark obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University in 1997 and begins his position as Assistant Professor in August 2002.


Professor David Odde Named McKnight Land-Grant

ProfessorDave was selected as one of this year's ten Mcknight Land-Grant Professors. The purpose of this University-wide competitive program is to strengthen the University's faculty for the future. It is designed to advance the careers of the most promising junior faculty at a crucial period in their professional lives, and to develop their potential to make significant contributions to their scholarly fields.$1 Million Whitaker Foundation Special Opportunity Award The Whitaker Foundation has awarded a $1 Million grant for our proposal, "Lab-Based Courses for BME Undergraduates and Practicing Engineers."This grant will be used to * establish and expand our new bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering with a focus on instructional laboratories integrated with six core lecture courses* establish and expand intensive short courses targeted to local biomedical device companies* hire two additional tenure-track faculty to enable and sustain these activities (to 9 full-time faculty members beyond the current 4 filled plus 3 open positions)


New Faculty Member Hired: Dr. Peter N. Steinmetz

Peter Steinmetz is presently a post-doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology in the Division of Biology and the Computation and Neural Systems Program. His research interests are understanding how information is represented and transformed in the brain, the biophysics of these transformations, and how we can engineer devices, such as neural stimulators, to affect these transformations. After completing his B.S. in Physics at the University of Minnesota, he founded a local computer design and consulting company, Steinmetz & Brown, Ltd. Several years later he returned to research, obtaining his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1997. Peter begins his position as Assistant Professor in June 2001.


New Bachelor's Degree Program Initiated

The Department is implementing a new undergraduate degree program in biomedical engineering, the only such program in the state of Minnesota. Four new courses are being introduced in the 2000-2001 academic year: BMEn 2501 "Biomedical Engineering Sophomore Seminar", BMEn 2601 "Cellular and Molecular Biology for Biomedical Engineers", BMEn 3001 "Biomechanics", and BMEn 3101 "Biomedical Transport Processes". All additional required courses will be introduced in the 2001-2002 academic year. The sophomore seminar and senior design courses will both involve significant participation from practicing biomedical engineers from local medical device companies around the Twin Cities.


Institute Director Named

On July 1, 2000, Dr. Jeffrey McCullough was named Director of the Biomedical Engineering Institute. Dr. McCullough is a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He holds the Variety Club Chair as Director of Molecular and Cellular Therapy in the Academic Health Center, and he is recognized internationally for his contributions to transfusion medicine and blood banking.


New Department Head Named

On August 1, 2000, Prof. Robert T. Tranquillo was named the Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Prof. Tranquillo had been a member of both the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science and the Department of Biomedical Engineering prior to his appointment as Head, and had served as Interim Head since April, 2000. He is also the program leader for the Artificial Tissues program of the University's NSF-funded Materials Research Science & Engineering Center. His areas of expertise include cell migration and cell-matrix interactions with applications to wound healing, guided nerve regeneration, and cardiovascular tissue engineering (bioartificial artery and valve fabrication).

 

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