Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The Department of Bioengineering combines hands-on experience with the solid fundamentals that students need to advance themselves in research, medicine, and industry. The Department has a long-standing and unique relationship with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and other academic departments at the University of Pittsburgh as well as neighboring Carnegie Mellon University. Our faculty are shared with these organizations, offering our graduate and undergraduate students access to state-of-the-art facilities and a wide array of research opportunities. We currently have 190 graduate students who are advised by some 100 different faculty advisers, pursuing graduate research across 17 Departments and five Schools. Our undergraduate class-size of approximately 50 students per year ensures close student-faculty interactions in the classroom and the laboratory.

The main engineering building is located next to the Medical Center in Oakland, an elegant university neighborhood with museums, parks, and great restaurants. Beautiful new facilities have also been built, a short shuttle ride from the main campus, along the Monongahela River, replacing the steel mills that once were there. Our department is growing rapidly, both in numbers of students and faculty, and in the funding and diversity of our research. The Pittsburgh bioengineering community is a vibrant and stimulating alliance of diverse components for which our department forms an essential and central connection.


Swanson School names George Stetten and Götz Veser as Outstanding Educators of the Year

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum

Pictured from left: George Stetten and Götz Veser PITTSBURGH (May 1, 2015) … In recognition of excellence in teaching for the 2014-2015 academic year, the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering presented George D. Stetten, MD, PhD and Götz Veser, PhD with its Outstanding Educator Award at the School's annual Senior Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, April 25. Dr. Stetten is Professor of Bioengineering and Dr. Veser is the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. "The Swanson School's Outstanding Teaching Award is highly competitive, and is judged upon faculty commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as assessment and professional development," noted Gerald D. Holder, PhD, the Swanson School's U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. "Student evaluations play an important role in determining our Outstanding Educators, and this year's results were outstanding. I congratulate George and Götz for their dedication to our students and to the engineering profession." Dr. Veser earned his PhD from the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society in Berlin, Germany, and previously was the A.v. Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis). He later held positions at the University of Stuttgart and at the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research, both in Germany, before joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. His main research area is catalytic reaction engineering with a focus on clean energy technology and fuel processing applications. Dr. Veser also serves as associate director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Energy. In 2014 he received the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching in Chemical Engineering by his Department. Dr. Stetten received his MD from State University of New York and PhD from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. He serves as Director of the Visualization and Image Analysis (VIA) Laboratory at the Swanson School, and as Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. His research areas include in situ image guided intervention, haptics, and image analysis. Dr. Stetten holds nine patents for medical devices such as the Sonic Flashlight TM , which merges real-time images from ultrasound with direct human vision, and the Hand Held Force Magnifier, which provides surgeons with a heighted sense of force at the tip of microsurgery devices. He is also the creator of the Swanson School's Music Engineering Laboratory (MEL), a professional-quality recording facility where engineering students learn about the technical aspects of musical instruments and recording, and work on projects to expand their own musical interests and experience through a one-semester, one-credit honors course, Music Engineering. ###  
Paul Kovach

Two Engineering Students Share Pitt’s 2015 Senior of the Year Award

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (April 22, 2015) ... The seniors of the year at the University of Pittsburgh have been named by the University's chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa , an honorary society that recognizes students who maintain a high standard of leadership in collegiate activities. Michael Nites and Dhanalakshmi Thiyagarajan have received the 2015 Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year award, which is given to students who possess and exhibit outstanding leadership qualities in service to the University. Their names will be engraved in a walkway between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel alongside the names of previous recipients of the award. Michael Nites, who served as president of Pitt's Student Government Board (SGB) in 2014, graduated in December 2014 with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the Swanson School of Engineering and a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics and economics from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Nites is working on special projects in Pitt's Office of the Chancellor until July, when he will begin working for McKinsey & Company , a global management consulting firm. In addition to being president of SGB, Nites served as a member of the board and the SGB Allocations Committee, including one year as committee chair. Nites served as a student liaison to three Pitt Board of Trustees' committees (Student Affairs, Academic, and Budget) and four University Senate committees (Student Affairs, Computer Usage, Tenure and Academic Freedom, and Budget Policies). Nites also served on the University Sexual Assault Task Force, the Alcohol Task Force, the University Review Board, and the Honors College Advisory Board. A native of Shaler, Pa., Nites was a University Honors College ambassador. As a volunteer coordinator for Pitt's Engineers for Sustainable Medical Development student organization, he organized weekly trips to Global Links, an international medical relief agency, and worked to repair and ship usable wheelchairs to patients abroad. He also worked on an interdisciplinary team of six undergraduate Pitt students who went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to perform research on bamboo gridshells, which are rapidly deployable structures that can be used to provide shelter in developing countries during times of natural disaster. In 2013, Nites was named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, a national merit award recognizing the top students in the country studying mathematics, science, or engineering. Nites also won the 2014 George Washington Prize as the Swanson School's top graduating senior, the Blue Stars Red Carpet Outstanding Student Government Board member award, the McKay Prize for academic excellence in Pitt's Department of Economics, and the Undergraduate Chancellor Research Fellow Award. Dhanalakshmi Thiyagaraja from Bethlehem, Pa., will graduate April 26 with a bachelor's degree in bioengineering from the Swanson School and a minor in chemistry from the Dietrich School. She also will earn a Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. She has been accepted into Temple University's School of Medicine and will begin her medical studies in the fall. Thiyagarajan is the founder and president of the Gluten Free Awareness League on campus, and she has been promoting gluten-free awareness in the United States and India, working with national organizations, companies, and restaurants. For her efforts, she was profiled in the Fall 2013 edition of Allergic Living magazine. Thiyagarajan has also demonstrated leadership on campus as president of the Society of Women Engineers chapter at Pitt, after serving the organization since 2011 as historian, membership chair, and secretary. She has served as an ambassador of the University Honors College, vice president of the Outside the Classroom Honorary Society, member of the Biomedical Engineering Society and of CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls), and a tutor for students enrolled in courses based in science, technology, engineering, and math. In 2014, Thiyagarajan won the Swanson School's Sustainability Design Expo for Product Realization for a new dental implant mesh she developed. She also was selected by Pitt's Innovation Institute to represent the University in the national "1000 Pitches" competition in the health category for her idea of a gluten-free sleeve to prevent cross-contamination of foods. Thiyagarajan also won the Swanson School's 2015 George Washington Prize, was named the outstanding sophomore student leader through Blue Stars Red Carpet in April 2013, and won the president's award through Blue Stars Red Carpet in April 2014. Thiyagarajan conducted an independent research project on celiac disease under Marc Schwartz, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition in Pitt's School of Medicine, and served as an undergraduate research assistant under James H-C. Wang, director of the MechanoBiology Laboratory within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Bioengineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Her volunteer experience includes assisting mothers and babies at Magee-Womens Hospital, assisting discharged patients at St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem, and helping at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in its Automated Blood Center. ###
John Fedele

Pitt designated an Innovation Corps Site by National Science Foundation

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the University of Pittsburgh as an NSF I-Corps site. The award, which supports innovation activities at select academic institutions, comes with a three-year, $300,000 grant to be used to advance innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship at Pitt. The University's Innovation Institute will manage the Pitt I-Corps site. (The "I" in I-Corps stands for "Innovation.") Through the I-Corps grant, 30 Pitt Innovator teams per year will receive $3,000 to participate in the Institute's Pitt Ventures program, which provides Pitt teams with hands-on commercialization and entrepreneurial education activities in partnership with entrepreneurs-in-residence, investors, and local business mentors. Pitt Innovator teams may use the $3,000 stipends for market research, customer-discovery analyses, and other development efforts.  "We're honored to receive this prestigious NSF award to support our commercialization efforts," says Marc Malandro, founding director of the Innovation Institute and associate vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization at Pitt. "This award builds on our efforts to instill a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the entire University, bringing together more faculty, staff, and student innovators with educators, mentors, and other community partners to advance our commercialization activities." The Innovation Institute's goals for the I-Corps program are to accomplish the following: Increase the number of entrepreneurially minded faculty, staff, and students at Pitt through education, training, and outreach-particularly among innovators from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented academic disciplines. Enhance a recently deployed commercialization process at Pitt that includes experiential learning and customer-discovery support for Pitt Innovator teams. Improve Pitt's connection to-and support of-the Pittsburgh region's entrepreneurial ecosystem in nurturing startup companies emerging from University innovations. "Through support provided by the I-Corps program, the University of Pittsburgh now will be able to develop an even deeper pipeline of commercialization opportunities from a broader group of innovators, further enhancing our impact on regional and national economic development," Malandro says. The Innovation Institute , launched in November 2013, serves as the hub of innovation commercialization and entrepreneurship activities at the University of Pittsburgh.   ###
Joe Miksch

Pitt scores in U.S. News Best Graduate Schools Guidebook

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- In newly released statistics from U.S. News & World Report , a number of University of Pittsburgh schools and programs have excelled in the Best Graduate Schools 2016 guidebook. Pitt's School of Nursing is ranked no. 5 nationwide in an inaugural annual ranking of nursing schools that offer master's or doctorate programs. In nursing specialties, the school is no. 1 in the category of nurse anesthesia; no. 3 in clinical nurse leader; no. 3 in pediatric, primary care (tie); no. 5 in administration (tie); no. 5 in adult / gerontology, acute care (tie); and no. 5 in psychiatric / mental health, across the lifespan. Pitt's School of Medicine ranks no. 16 in the research category and no. 19 (tie) in the primary care category of the Best Medical Schools ranking. In medical specialties, Pitt is no. 4 in women's health. In new Health disciplines rankings, Pitt's master's and doctorate programs in public health in the Graduate School of Public Health are ranked no. 13, and the rehabilitation counseling program within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is no. 18 (tie). Among public universities, Pitt's graduate programs in education, engineering, and business are all ranked in the top 25. The School of Education is ranked no. 17 among public universities and no. 27 overall (tie); the Swanson School of Engineering is no. 24 among public universities and no. 43 overall (tie); and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is No. 23 among public universities and No. 48 overall (tie). The School of Law advanced three spots to no. 78 overall (tie). It is ranked no. 42 among public universities. Individual departments within the Swanson School of Engineering ranked as follows: Bioengineering: 7 among publics, 16 overall (tie) Chemical and Petroleum: 24 among publics, 39 overall (tie) Civil Engineering: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie) Computer Engineering: 30 among publics, 54 overall (tie) Electrical Engineering: 30 among publics, 52 overall (tie) Industrial Engineering: 15 among publics, 22 overall (tie) Materials Science: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie)   ###  
Cara Masset

Three Pitt faculty named 2015 Carnegie Science Award winners

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29, 2015- Three University of Pittsburgh faculty were among the winners of the 2015 Carnegie Science Awards, presented by Eaton, announced yesterday by the Carnegie Science Center. The program honors awardees from more than 15 categories, including Corporate Innovation, Emerging Female Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Leadership in STEM Education. These individuals and companies have distinguished themselves by making unparalleled contributions to science and technology in various disciplines. "The Carnegie Science Awards spotlight some of the most innovative minds today," said Ron Baillie, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "These individuals are making a global impact starting with our own region. We know they are already inspiring a new generation of leaders." The Pitt awardees are: Advanced Materials Award Steven R. Little, PhD Associate Professor, CNG Faculty Fellow and Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Secondary Appointments: Bioengineering, Immunology, Ophthalmology littlelab.pitt.edu Life Sciences Award Yadong Wang, PhD William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering Secondary Appointments: Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Surgery biomaterialsfoundry.pitt.edu Catalyst Award Rory A. Cooper, PhD FISA/PVA Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Secondary appointments: Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering Director, Human Engineering Research Laboratories herl.pitt.edu Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 19 th year, Carnegie Science Awards have honored the accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and organizations that have improved lives through their commitment and contributions in science and technology. "One of our central missions is to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM," said Ann Metzger, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "The Carnegie Science Awards winners exemplify the highest levels of success in STEM fields and in STEM education. We are proud to recognize these outstanding awardees and look forward to their continued contributions." Eaton has supported Carnegie Science Awards for more than a decade as presenting sponsor. Chevron is the Awards' prime sponsor, and Kennametal is associate sponsor. "Eaton is proud to be a part of this vibrant community of science leaders and educators who continue to help position our region among the foremost technology and energy innovation centers in the world," said Ruppert Russoniello, president, Circuit Protection Division, Eaton, and Carnegie Science Awards Event Chair. "These awardees are helping us to build a future that promises to be healthier, smarter, and more prosperous for us all, which is why we offer our congratulations and our thanks." Awardees will be honored during a formal celebration at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Friday, May 8, 2015. Three student winners, who will be selected at the Science Center's 76th annual Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair, also will be recognized. WINNERS: Advanced Manufacturing - Michael Podobnik, Teletrix Corporation Advanced Materials - Steven R. Little, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Catalyst - Rory A. Cooper, PhD, Human Engineering Research Laboratories Corporate Innovation - Aesynt Elementary Educator - Jenna Whitney, South Allegheny Elementary School Middle Level Educator - Julie Allison, Beaver Area School District High School Educator - Graig Marx, Winchester Thurston School Leadership in STEM Education - Marijke Hecht, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy University / Post-SecondaryEducator - David Brumley, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab University / Post-SecondaryStudent - Danielle Chirdon, Carnegie Mellon University Emerging Female Scientist - Shirley Ho, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics Start-Up Entrepreneur - Ananya Cleetus, Magikstra / Upper St. Clair High School Entrepreneur - Jesse Schell, Schell Games Environmental - Jeanne M. VanBriesen, PhD, PE, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Information Technology - Luis von Ahn, PhD, Duolingo Life Sciences - Yadong Wang, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Science Communicator - Kathleen Knauer, The Allegheny Front   HONORABLE MENTIONS: Corporate Innovation - Rhiza, Inc. Elementary Educator - Michele Thomas, Kiski Area School District High School Educator - Volunteer Advisors of the Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District Leadership in STEM Education- David Brumley, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab University Student - Sarah Kochanek, Duquesne University Emerging Female Scientist - Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Start-Up Entrepreneur - Robb Myer, NoWait Entrepreneur - Susan & Eric Koger, ModCloth Environmental - Ronald Gdovic, WindStax Wind Power Systems   For more information about Carnegie Science Awards, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org .   About Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center's goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh's premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs. About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events. ###

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Bioengineering By The Numbers


Number of Undergraduate Students enrolled for the 2013-2014 Academic Year


Number of PhD Candidates enrolled for the 2014-2015 Academic Year


Number of Masters Candidates enrolled for the 2014-2015 Academic Year



Number of PhD Degrees Awarded in Spring/Summer/Fall 2014 


Number of MS Degrees Awarded in 2013-2014 Academic Year 


Number of BS Degrees Awarded in 2013-2014 Academic Year 



 Number of Faculty Publications in 2013-2014 Academic Year 


 Number of Graduate Publications in 2013-2014 Academic Year 


Number of Undergraduate Publications in 2012-2013 Academic Year