Engineering Diversity

Gilda Barabino, Ph.D.

Gilda A. Barabino is Dean and Berg Professor at The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY). She has appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education / CUNY School of Medicine. Prior to joining CCNY, she served as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. At Georgia Tech she also served as the inaugural Vice Provost for Academic Diversity. Prior to her appointments at Georgia Tech and Emory, she rose to the rank of Full Professor of Chemical Engineering and served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Northeastern University. She is a noted investigator in the areas of sickle cell disease, cellular and tissue engineering, and race/ethnicity and gender in science and engineering. She consults nationally and internationally on STEM education and research, diversity in higher education, policy, workforce development and faculty development.

Dr. Barabino received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). She was the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 2012-2014. She has an extensive record of leadership and service in the chemical and biomedical engineering communities. She is the Immediate Past-President of BMES and is the President-Elect of AIMBE. Dr. Barabino has over a decade of experience in leading NSF initiatives for women and minority faculty and is the founder and Executive Director of the National Institute for Faculty Equity.


  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • BS in Chemistry, Xavier University, New Orleans, LA

Research Interests

Barabino Laboratory on Vascular and Orthopedic Tissue Engineering Research is primarily focused on cellular and tissue responses to fluid mechanical forces in the context of vascular disease and orthopedic tissue engineering. We concentrate on the characterization and quantification of mechanical and biochemical cues that influence tissue growth and disease progression. Our interdisciplinary work incorporates biology, materials science and engineering toward novel therapeutic strategies to improve the health of individuals suffering with sickle cell disease and those suffering with diseases associated with damaged cartilage and bone. To that end, we employ innovative engineering technologies to create models that recapitulate the environment within the body in order to better understand the pathophysiology of disease and the most appropriate strategies for treatment. We also employ complementary animal models to bridge translation of our findings to human clinical practice.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

SCD is a genetic disorder affecting 70,000 Americans and millions globally that induces chronic inflammation and vascular dysfunction and causes multiple organ damage as a result. The pathophysiology of SCD is quite complex and involves altered interactions between blood cells and endothelial cells lining the vessel walls, altered mechanical properties of blood, blood cells and blood vessels and altered tissue properties in affected organs. We apply innovative engineering approaches and technologies to better understand conditions that contribute to vaso-occlusion, a hallmark of the disease, and the relationship between inflammation, vascular remodeling and vascular biomechanical abnormalities. Results from these studies will enable the development of new therapies and provide clinicians with therapeutic opportunities for improved management of individuals with SCD.

Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Articular cartilage injury is a major cause of decreased mobility and pain and can lead to osteoarthritis, a debilitating disease characterized by progressive erosion of cartilage tissues. Once injured or damaged due to disease, cartilage has limited ability for regeneration and self-repair due to its avascular nature. Tissue engineering approaches combining cells, bioactive molecules and biodegradable scaffolds in defined environments that support the regeneration of functional cartilage tissues hold promise. Bioreactors are used to provide defined environments and we have developed and employed novel bioreactor systems that impart fluid flow-induced shear forces to better understand how environmental factors regulate tissue growth toward the development of optimally designed and clinically relevant engineered tissues.

Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of VCU’s School of Engineering, is an acclaimed researcher and entrepreneur. Her laboratory focuses on research related to all aspects of bone and cartilage biology, and she is recognized internationally by peers as an expert in musculoskeletal tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cell and tissue interactions with biomaterials. Dean Boyan is inventor on 22 U.S. and multiple international patents. Her inventions focus on innovative ways to treat musculoskeletal defects by harnessing the body’s own regenerative potential. Notable examples include a micro-nanoscale surface technology for dental and spine implants, as well as a biodegradable implant for regenerating bone and cartilage.

Dean Boyan is committed to advancing scholarship in science and engineering. She has been an invited lecturer in over 15 countries and, on average, participates in the scientific programs of 20 conferences each year. Dean Boyan is author of more than 460 peer-reviewed papers, reviews and book chapters. She has mentored over 30 doctoral and 50 master’s students. Her research, leadership and mentorship have earned her honors and appointments from numerous organizations, including:

  • Fellow – American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • Fellow – American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Fellow – National Academy of Inventors (NAI)
  • Member – National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
  • Fellow – World Congress of Biomaterials
  • Founding Director – Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium
  • Co-Director – Atlantic Pediatric Device Consortium
  • National Materials Advisory Board Member – National Research Council of the National Academies
  • Appointment – National Materials Advisory Board
  • Past Chair – Orthopaedic Device Panel, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Past President – American Association of Dental Research
  • National Research Council
 Birnberg Award–Columbia University School of Dentistry

Dean Boyan is strongly committed to entrepreneurship and the translation of discoveries to industrial applications. She is the co-founder of four companies:

  • SpherIngenics, Inc., (cell-based therapies) as Director and Chief Scientific Officer
  • Orthonics, Inc., (medical devices) as Chief Scientific Officer
  • OsteoBiologics, Inc., (tissue engineered medical products) as Chairman and CEO, Board of Directors
  • Biomedical Development Corporation, (innovative medical technologies) Chief Scientific Officer

She also serves on the board of directors for five other companies:

  • Carticept Medical, Inc., (innovative injection devices) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
  • Cartiva, Inc. (Cartilage repair technologies) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
  • IsoTis, Inc., (Bone graft material) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
  • IsoTis SA, (Bone graft material) Independent Director, Board of Directors
  • ArthroCare, Inc., (Medical devices) Independent Director, Board of Directors

Previously the associate dean for research and innovation at the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dean Boyan has been involved in research and education since 1974. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in biology at Rice University, and is the recipient of many scholarly and national awards. She is an active proponent of collaboration and interdisciplinary studies within the university.

Rena Bizios, Ph.D.

Professor Rena Bizios, a chemical/biomedical engineer by training, is the Lutcher Brown Chair Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas. During her career in academia, Professor Bizios has taught various undergraduate and graduate fundamental engineering and biomedical engineering courses as well as developed new courses for biomedical engineering curricula. She has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty. Her research interests include cellular and tissue engineering, tissue regeneration, biomaterials (including nanostructured ones) and biocompatibility. She has co-authored a textbook (entitled An Introduction to Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions), co-edited a book (Biological Interactions on Material Surfaces: Understanding and Controlling Protein, Cell and Tissue Responses), authored/co-authored scientific publications and book chapters, and is co-inventor of several patents/disclosures. She has given numerous presentations at scientific conferences and invited seminars/lectures in academic institutions and industry. She has also organized and/or co-chaired numerous symposia and sessions at regional/national/international conferences. Professor Bizios is a member and has been an active participant (including elected officer positions) in several professional societies. She is member of the editorial board of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part A and Part B, Technology, Journal of Nano Research, and Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine; she has participated in various national-level review committees, and has served on numerous Departmental, School/College of Engineering and Institute/University committees.

Professor Bizios’ contributions to education and her research accomplishments have been recognized by the: Rensselaer Alumni Association Teaching Award (1997); Clemson Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature by the Society for Biomaterials, (1998); Distinguished Scientist Award by the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (2009); Women’s Initiatives Mentorship Excellence Award by The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2010); Founders Award by the Society for Biomaterials (2014); Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award by the Biomedical Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education (2014); Amber Award, The UTSA Ambassadors, The University of Texas at San Antonio (2014); and by her election as Charter Member of the Academy of Distinguished Researchers, The University of Texas at San Antonio (2015). Professor Bizios is Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), International Union of the Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is also member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and of the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).

Linda Lucas, Ph.D.

Dr. Linda C. Lucas became provost of University of Alabama at Birmingham in April 2012 after serving in the interim role since May 2011. She served as dean of the School of Engineering from 2000 to 2011. Lucas joined the UAB faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor and was named department chair of biomedical engineering in 1995. She is a senior scientist in the Center for BioMatrix Engineering and Regenerative Medicine and the Center for Metabolic Bone Diseases. She also holds joint appointments in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and several departments within the School of Dentistry.

Lucas holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and chemistry from the University of Alabama; she also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, a Master of Science in mathematics, a Master of Arts in education, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from UAB.  She has focused her academic career on the development of biomaterials for orthopaedic and dental implants.

Dr. Lucas was on the inaugural Council of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and is the first female past-president of three international professional organizations: the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the Society for Biomaterials. In 1998 she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers, and in 2000 she was inducted as an International Fellow in the Society for Biomaterials. Dr. Lucas and her students have presented their work in over 100 publications and made more than 250 presentations at scientific meetings.

Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Ferrara was recruited to the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in 2018. Prior, Professor Ferrera spent years building and shaping the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of California, Davis into a highly successful program.

Most recently, Professor Ferrara became IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in 2017 and received the inaugural Leadership in Molecular Imaging Award in 2018.

In 2011, Professor Katherine Ferrara was presented with an Outstanding Mentor Award from the Consortium for Women and Research at UC Davis. These awards honor faculty members who have engaged in sustained and successful mentoring of women at the university; Ferrara was nominated by students and peers, many of whom wrote lengthy and quite moving letters of support.

Kathy Ferrara was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for her contributions to the theory and applications of biomedical ultrasound technology.

This accolade was merely one example of Ferrara’s ability to juggle ambitious responsibilities in teaching, research and administration: the latter, most impressively, when she was recruited to found the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, and then served a five-year term as the department’s first chair, from 2000 to ’05. When she stepped down, the fledgling department already ranked 23rd in the nation, with extramural expenditures that were among the country’s largest.

This was Ferrara’s second stint on the Davis campus. After obtaining undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Sacramento State University, she earned a doctorate in the same field from UC Davis in 1989. She then held appointments at the University of Virginia and New York’s Cornell Medical College, while maintaining an associate professorship at Sacramento State. Upon her return to UC Davis in 1998, her efforts in the nascent Department of Biological Engineering included planning for her department’s space in what eventually would become the campus’ Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility.

During the subsequent decade, her research focused on cancer diagnosis and the paradigm-shifting concept of “image-guided drug delivery,” a form of individualized therapy wherein imaging methods — ultrasound, PET, MRI and CT — are used to guide and monitor the localized, targeted delivery of therapeutics to (for example) a cancer tumor. Ferrara’s lab also is developing molecularly targeted drug delivery vehicles.

Ferrara is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. She was chosen to deliver the 2011 Chandran Lecture at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering; the lecture series focuses on advances in brain tumor imaging. In March 2012, she gave the Adamczyk Lecture at Case Western Reserve University; this lecture series showcases the use of cutting-edge technology in the development of noninvasive diagnostics and novel therapies, particularly in the context of cancer treatments. In both cases, Ferrara’s selection reflects the degree to which she has been recognized as a nationally respected scientist whose work will have a major impact on medical technology, now and in the future.

Banu Onaral, Ph.D.

Dr. Onaral is H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and BSEE and MSEE in Electrical Engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. Dr. Onaral joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering and Science Institute in 1981. Since 1997, she has served as the founding Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems. 

Her academic focus is centered on information engineering with special emphasis on complex systems and biomedical signal processing in ultrasound and optics. She has led major research and development projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Naval Research (ONR), DARPA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She has supervised a large number of graduate students to degree completion and has an extensive publication record in biomedical signals and systems. She is the recipient of a number of faculty excellence awards, including the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award of Drexel University, the EDUCOM Best educational Software award, and the NSF Faculty Achievement Award. 

Dr. Onaral’s translational research efforts for rapid commercialization of biomedical technologies developed at Drexel and its partner institutions have resulted in the creation of the Translational Research in Biomedical Technologies program. This initiative brings together academic technology developers with entrepreneurs, regional economic development agencies, as well as local legal, business, and investment communities. Under her leadership, the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award recognized the program following a highly competitive selection process among 63 institutions in North America. At the end of an initial five-year term, universities successful in institutionalizing translational research will receive an endowment to ensure the perpetuity of the program.

Her professional responsibilities have included service on the Editorial Board of journals and the CRC Biomedical Engineering Handbook as Section Editor for Biomedical Signal Analysis. She served as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), the largest member-based biomedical engineering society in the world. She organized and chaired the 1990 Annual International Conference of the EMBS and Co-Chaired the 2004 Annual Conference of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). She is a Fellow of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She served on the inaugural Board of the AIMBE as publications chair and as Chair of the Academic Council. She currently serves as the President of the Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA).

Janice Jenkins, Ph.D.

During her 22-year career at the University of Michigan, Janice Jenkins became known for her mentorship and dedication to the development of the next generation of research engineers — and for the fact that she was the first woman faculty member hired in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

“The most unusual part of my academic career,” Jenkins said, “is the fact that I raised five kids and started college when my oldest started college. I was 37. I got my PhD at the age of 46 and was appointed an assistant professor at Michigan at the age of 48. I wasn’t as worried about being discriminated against for being female, as I was worried about age discrimination! I didn’t tell anyone how old I was. I won the NSF Presidential Young Investigator award when I was 52. Probably (without doubt) the oldest Young Investigator ever. I was a grandmother!”

At the time of her retirement in 2002, Jenkins still had an active NSF grant at UM and traveled back to Michigan regularly, supervising the research of two graduate and three undergraduate students. “I haven’t stopped my active professional life,” she said. “I also have a major role in an NIH/SBIR grant and am directing clinical studies at Loyola University Medical Center.”

Professor Jenkins received her BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1974, 1976, and 1978, respectively. She was an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and of medicine, at Northwestern University from 1979-1980. In 1980, she joined the UM faculty as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and was promoted to professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and of biomedical engineering, in 1992.

At UM, Jenkins made important contributions to automated arrhythmia analysis using advanced signal processing and computer techniques. She was director of the medical computing research laboratory (1981-2002), and of the digital design laboratory (1983-1998), an instructional laboratory on the design of microprocessor-based systems that she initiated and taught.

In 1991, Jenkins received the UM Sarah Goddard Power Award for her outstanding professional achievements and contributions to the education of women, and the NSF Faculty Award for Women in Science and Engineering. Jenkins is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American College of Cardiology. She has four patents, and another pending. She has supported, mentored, and graduated 20 PhD students and eight MS thesis students.

Upon her retirement from active faculty status in December 2002, the UM Regents named Janice Jenkins Professor Emerita of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Christina Enroth-Cugell, Ph.D.

Christina Alma Elisabeth Enroth-Cugell, emeritus professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology, passed away June 15, 2016 at age 96. She was as a renowned vision scientist, distinguished researcher, and compassionate colleague.

Arriving at Northwestern in 1955, Enroth-Cugell worked as a research fellow and instructor in the University’s Department of Ophthalmology before transitioning to the role of faculty in the Department of Physiology. In 1968, she began a joint appointment between the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, where she was one of the first female faculty members to teach engineering at Northwestern. She was an early faculty member of what became McCormick’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Weinberg’s Department of Neurobiology and served as chair of the Department of Neurobiology from 1984-1986.

A celebrated researcher, Enroth-Cugell made several contributions to the areas of visual adaptation and the spatial and temporal aspects of receptive fields and was at the center of the study of vision at Northwestern. Her lab, where she continued to play an active role well after her retirement in 1990, was a vital hub for producing many of today’s vision scientists.

Enroth-Cugell’s research concentrated on the physiology of the mammalian retina, a passion that dated back to her time as a student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where she earned her PhD under Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ragnar Granit. Her particular interest in feline retinal ganglion cells led to her seminal research published in 1966 with collaborator John G. Robson. The study, which has been cited nearly 2,000 times, was one of the first to use systems analysis methods in vision, and it launched a field of study on parallel pathways in the visual system.

In 1983, Enroth-Cugell received the prestigious Jonas Stein Friedenwald Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology for her groundbreaking research and contributions to the study of visual physiology.

Enroth-Cugell was recognized with several notable accolades throughout her career. She received the inaugural Ludwig von Sallmann Prize at the International Congress of Eye Research meeting in 1982, as well as an honorary degree from the University of Helsinki. She also served as a member of the National Institute of Health’s National Advisory Eye Council and was named fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1994, she was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s College of Fellows for “distinguished contributions to basic visual science.”