Department of Bioengineering Newsletter: Fall 2012
"The Arrival of a New Generation"
FALL 2012 NEWS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING From the Chair We introduce our newest generation of faculty to you in this issue. They bring with them youthful energy, enthusiasm and expertise in fields that hold enormous potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing needs. They are some of the “young guns” in bioengineering. We are very proud they chose Penn, and look forward to seeing them raise the visibility and impact of our department. In addition to hiring new faculty, we continue to expand our academic programs. In this issue, we describe our M.S.E. in Bioengineering program. Its graduates move into careers in biomedicine, health technologies and clinical care. We highlight current students and recent graduates of the program, showing how it shaped their next career steps. As always, we invite you to visit us if you are on Penn’s campus or in the Philadelphia region. Also, please send us your feedback and news, which we can share with the Penn community. We look forward to hearing about every event and accomplishment, as your successes are the best indicators of our department’s impact on the world. David F. Meaney S. R. Pollack Professor and Chair During the past four years, seven new Bioengineering faculty members have been hired. In the group photo, seated (from left): Brian Chow, Brian Litt, Arjun Raj. Standing (from left): David Issadore, Christopher Fang-Yen. At right, top: Jennifer Cremins. At right, bottom: Donguen Huh. The Arrival of a New Generation A department’s reputation rests with its students, alumni and faculty. Our department has the good fortune to have attracted seven new faculty members in the past four years, an enormous achievement. You will meet all seven on the following pages. The new faculty members bring uncommon expertise, skills and innovative spirit to the department. Their research interests range from neuroengineering to translational medicine, medical imaging and diagnostic instrumentation to systems biology and microfluidics. The department now employs experts in some of bioengineering’s most exciting and promising fields, such as: » biomimetics (also known as “organ on a chip”), which uses the tools of biology and engineering to learn and replicate the design principles found in nature to build and control living tissues and organs; » optogenetics, which combines the power of optical control with the precision of genetic techniques to manipulate biological systems; and » epigenetics, the study of how heritable changes occur without a change in DNA sequence. “Our field is at the beginning of a new era, where our fundamental understanding of biology is leading to applications in medicine that we could only dream of 10 years ago,” said David F. Meaney, S.R. Pollack Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering. “We are incredibly fortunate to recruit the next generation of faculty in such an age. The possibilities for our department’s impact on future generations of students are limitless.” In this issue you will meet these new faculty members, and learn about their backgrounds, teaching philosophies, research interests and what they hope to accomplish at Penn. Also in this issue The faculty list is not the only segment of the department that has grown recently. The number of students pursuing Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) degrees in bioengineering has been surging by leaps and bounds. Indeed, this past May saw nearly 100 students in the program. See page 5 to learn more about the M.S.E. program and meet some of its truly promising students. 1