Engineering Diversity


Guillermo Ameer, ScD

Dr. Guillermo Ameer, Daniel Hale Williams Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery at Northwestern University, is creating a set of high-tech tools to manage diverse medical conditions. Dr. Ameer directs the Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering (CARE) which integrates and supports research, technology development, and clinical expertise to improve the outcome of tissue and organ repair and regeneration for adult and pediatric patients. Dr. Ameer’s lab develops biomaterials and nanotechnology for regenerative engineering, tissue engineering, medical devices, drug delivery, and cell delivery applications. In the lab, projects driving the creation and engineering of novel biomaterials to target and treat vascular, endocrine, and bone pathophysiologies are on deck. Dr. Ameer has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference abstracts, several book chapters, and multiple patents issued and pending (>35). He has founded 3 companies: ProSorp Biotech, VesselTek Biomedical and Citrics Biomedical.

Treena Arinzeh, PhD

Treena Livingston Arinzeh, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, has earned national recognition for her commitment to making adult stem cell therapy a future reality. Her research interests are in stem cell tissue engineering and applied biomaterials, with a focus in the development of functional biomaterials that can accelerate repair utilizing stem cells and other cell types. She develops biomaterial strategies for the repair of bone, cartilage and other related musculoskeletal tissues. Her research interests also include nerve tissue regeneration, specifically spinal cord. In fall 2004, President Bush awarded Arinzeh the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest national honor that a young researcher can receive. In 2003, the National Science Foundation also gave Arinzeh its highest honor–a Faculty Early Career Development award that included a $400,000 research grant. Arinzeh’s most cited work to date, in a paper in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, demonstrated that adult stem cells taken from one person could be implanted in another without being rejected. It was among the most significant findings in stem cell research in the past few years.

Gilda Barabino, PhD

Gilda Barabino would become the first African American student admitted to Rice University to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering – a daunting and pioneering solo status, one of many firsts for Barabino, that didn’t stop her from following her dream of becoming a biomedical engineer. Gilda Barabino is the Dean of the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY). 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. She is a Past-President of BMES and 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.

Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

Sangeeta Bhatia is a cancer researcher, MIT professor and biotech entrepreneur who works to adapt technologies developed in the computer industry for medical innovation. Trained as both a physician and engineer, Sangeeta’s laboratory leverages ‘tiny technologies’ of miniaturization to yield inventions with new applications in tissue regeneration, stem cell differentiation, medical diagnostics, predictive toxicology, and drug delivery. She and her trainees have launched more than ten biotechnology companies to improve human health. Sangeeta has received many honors including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, known as the ‘Oscar for inventors,’ and the Heinz Medal for groundbreaking inventions and advocacy for women in STEM fields. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Cheryl Blanchard, PhD

Cheryl Blanchard is an engineer turned CEO whose career has been focused on bringing innovative medical device, biologic, regenerative medicine and drug delivery products to patients around the world. Cheryl’s career path started out in research and development and quickly morphed into leadership positions in the corporate world. Her early technical work led to the formation of a company that develops regenerative wound care technologies and later in her role as Chief Scientific Officer of Zimmer, Inc., the development of over 100 products that have impacted the lives of millions of orthopaedic patients. She also founded, built and led the Zimmer biologics business that developed a portfolio of innovative regenerative medicine products to treat a number of orthopaedic conditions. She is currently President and CEO of Keratin Biosciences, a company developing advanced wound care, regenerative medicine and drug delivery products. Cheryl also serves on the boards of a number of private and public medical technology companies. Because a strong STEM education changed her life, she also serves tirelessly as an advocate for STEM education in her community and beyond. Cheryl is humbled to have received honors including being elected a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and being elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Tejal Desai, PhD

Tejal Desai is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at University of California, San Francisco and head of the Therapeutic Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. Desai is an acknowledged world leader in therapeutic microscale and nanoscale technologies and is at the forefront of engineering the next generation of drugs, using the tools of semiconductor manufacturing from Silicon Valley to make miniscule medical devices that deliver a drug or multiple drugs directly to specific areas of concern. Results from her lab include the use of silicon nanowire coated silica beads as adhesive drug-delivery vehicles, especially to the human gut, the micro/nanoscale cage or biocapsule for controlled drug delivery, and nanostructured thin-film devices for controlled ocular drug delivery. An elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the National Academy of Medicine, Desai is also a recipient of the prestigious Paul Dawson Biotechnology Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. She was selected as one of the “Brilliant 10” Top Scientists in the Nation by Popular Science, received the Visionary Science Award from the BioMEMS and Nanotechnology Society, and the Global Indus Technovator Award from MIT.

Paula Hammond, PhD

Dr. Hammond is the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She is a widely recognized and cited researcher in biomaterials and drug delivery. Her research focuses on using nanoscale biomaterials to attack cancer. Prof. Hammond continues to serve as an Associate Editor of the American Chemical Society journal, ACS Nano. As a part of the Year of Chemistry in 2011, she was one of the Top 100 materials scientists named by Thomson-Reuters, a recognition of the highest citation impact in the field over the past decade (2001-2011). She has published over 200 papers and holds over 20 patents based on her research at MIT. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD

Rebecca Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rice University. Guided by the belief that all of the world’s people deserve access to health innovation, Richards-Kortum’s research and teaching focus is on the development of low-cost, high-performance technologies for remote and low-resource settings. She is known for providing vulnerable populations with access to life-saving health technologies that address diseases and conditions that cause high morbidity and mortality, such as cervical and oral cancer, premature birth, sickle cell disease and malaria. Richards-Kortum’s research and engineering design efforts have led to the development of 40 patents. She is author of the textbook Biomedical Engineering for Global Health published by Cambridge University Press (2010), more than 315 refereed research papers and 13 book chapters. In July 2017, the MacArthur Foundation named an international team of collaborators led by Richards-Kortum a finalist for its 100&Change $100 million grant competition for its plan to end preventable newborn deaths in Africa within 10 years. As part of this plan, Richards-Kortum and her team are developing and implementing Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies, or NEST 360°, which is an integrated group of 17 lifesaving neonatal technologies that could prevent half of the newborn deaths in Africa.

Ann Salamone

Ann Beal Salamone is President of Rochal Industries, which is a global leader in commercializing technology innovations in polymer, antimicrobial and biological systems. She has developed products for electronics, water purification, personal care and healthcare and has invested in, and served on, the boards for several entrepreneurial companies as well as co-founded six companies. During her tenure as Vice President of EDC (a South Florida science & technology incubator), EDC’s clients increased aggregate revenues by more than $98 million, raised more than $74 million in outside funding, and created 5,013 jobs. She was elected Chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Polymer Division (8,000 members) and is a co-founder of the Intersociety Polymer Education Council which has provided hands-on in-services to over 500,000 K-12 science teachers since 1991. She is an Inaugural Fellow of ACS and a Fellow of AIMBE, the recipient of the 2002 Crystal Slipper Award “Executive Woman of the Year” and a recipient of the 2011 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association LEAD Award. Salamone serves as Vice Chair of the BioMed SA Board of Directors, a member of the UTSA Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board, and a member of three UT Health-San Antonio Advisory Boards related to translational clinical science and community health. Salamone was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 “for development of materials for biomedical applications, personal care, electronics, and water purification.”

Molly Shoichet, Ph.D.

Dr. Molly Shoichet holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and is University Professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Chemistry and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is an expert in the study of Polymers for Drug Delivery & Regeneration which are materials that promote healing in the body. Dr. Shoichet has published over to 575 papers, patents and abstracts and has given over 350 lectures worldwide. She currently leads a laboratory of 32 researchers and has graduated 157 researchers over the past 22 years. Dr. Shoichet co-founded three spin-off companies, is actively engaged in translational research and science outreach. Dr. Shoichet is the recipient of many prestigious distinctions and the only person to be a Fellow of Canada’s 3 National Academies: Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Engineering, and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Shoichet won the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for North America in 2015. Dr. Shoichet holds the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor and the Order of Ontario, Ontario’s highest honor. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2013, her contributions to Canada’s innovation agenda and the advancement of knowledge were recognized with the QEII Diamond Jubilee Award. In 2014, she was given the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, University Professor, a distinction held by less than 2% of the faculty. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and winner of the Killam Prize in Engineering in 2017. In 2018, Dr. Shoichet was named Chief Scientist for the province of Ontario.

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic holds the title of University Professor, Columbia University’s highest rank reserved for a small number of faculty who have made important contributions to their field of study and serve the university as a whole. She is a leading expert in engineering of functional human tissues for regenerative medicine and modeling of disease. She trained over 150 graduate students and postdocs, many of which now hold the academic and executive positions. With over 41,000 citations and h=115, she is one of the most highly cited individuals of all times, in all disciplines. An entrepreneur, she founded four biotech companies. Vunjak-Novakovic has given 400 invited lectures, published 380 referred journal articles and 70 book chapters, and is a co-inventor on 90 licensed, issued and pending patents. She is a frequent advisor on to the federal government and industry. Among her many distinctions, she is a member of the Academia Europaea, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.