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 187 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.


60 Researchers from the Swanson School of Engineering Ranked Among Top 2% of Scientists Worldwide

Accolades, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, MEMS, Electrical & Computer, Civil & Environmental, Industrial, Honors & Awards

According to a new report by Stanford University, 59 researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are ranked in the top 2 percent of scientists in the world. The report covered scientists globally from a wide range of fields, and the ranking is based on citations from Scopus, assessing scientists for career-long citation impact up until the end of 2019 and for citation impact during the single calendar year 2019. More information on the ranking method can be found here.The full list can be found here.“I am incredibly proud of the breadth and depth of our primary and secondary faculty within this survey, both overall and as a segment of the University of Pittsburgh,” noted James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Receiving this external validation is a testament to their research and dedication to their respective fields.”The researchers from the Swanson School of Engineering are:BioengineeringX. Tracy CuiWilliam FederspielPrashant KumtaPatrick LoughlinDavid VorpStephen F. BadylakMichael BoningerR. A. CooperJoseph FurmanJorg GerlachThomas GilbertMark GladwinJohn KellumKacey G. MarraJ. Peter RubinWalter SchneiderIan SigalAlexander StarYoram VodovotzWilliam WagnerJames H.C. WangAlan WellsPeter WipfDouglass Lansing TaylorChemical and Petroleum EngineeringAnna C. BalazsEric J. BeckmanRobert EnickGerald D. HolderJ. Karl JohnsonJoseph McCarthySachin VelankarGötz VeserIrving Wender (deceased)Civil and Environmental EngineeringAmir AlaviAndrew P. BungerKent A. HarriesPiervincenzo RizzoLuis VallejoRadisav VidicFred MosesElectrical and Computer EngineeringHeng HuangAlexis KwasinskiKartik MohanramErvin SejdićMingui SunRami MelhemRob RutenbarIndustrial EngineeringLarry ShumanMechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceWilliam (Buddy) ClarkPaul OhodnickiG. Paolo GaldiPeyman GiviBrian GleesonScott X. MaoGerald H. MeierWissam A. SaidiGuofeng WangXudong ZhangCarey BalabanFreddie H. Fu

Vascular Bioengineering Lab Receives Funding to Track Aneurysms and Predict Rupture

Grants, Bioengineering

The Vascular Bioengineering Lab (VBL) at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering seeks to understand and develop solutions to the causes and effects of disease in tubular tissue and organs. Part of this research includes a closer look at abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) — the 15th leading cause of death in the United States.An AAA occurs when the aorta weakens and begins to irreversibly dilate, like a slowly inflating balloon. If left untreated, the risk of rupture increases and has a 90 percent rate of mortality. The VBL team is working to develop a new model to better predict at-risk patients and are using tools from the lab to perform shape analysis and biomechanical simulations. They will use these data to train a machine learning algorithm to classify different types of aneurysm outcomes. This classifier will be used to develop a predictive model that can help guide clinicians and determine the need for surgical intervention.Read more about the Aneurysm Prognosis Classifier in the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance blog. “Most medical treatments are based on how they will affect the average patient, but in fact, each of us is very different from one another. Being able to understand and predict how a specific person's aneurysm will grow based on their own unique characteristics is a big leap forward,” said Nathan Liang, assistant professor of surgery in Pitt’s School of Medicine, vascular surgeon at UPMC, and co-investigator on the project. “This wasn't possible in the past, but now with better machine learning algorithms and increasingly powerful computers, we are close to making this a reality. Our classifier will allow clinicians and patients to work together, create individualized management plans, and improve the care for those with abdominal aortic aneurysms.” Related news: Using a Machine Model to Predict Risk of Human Aneurysms.The team received a $100,000 award from Precision Medicine Initiative for Commercialization (PreMIC), a collaboration between Pitt’s Institute for Precision Medicine, sciVelo, and the Innovation Institute. Funding for PreMIC comes from a RK Mellon Foundation grant to the Institute for Precision Medicine that in part provides critical funding to early-stage translational science projects.“Our initial pilot study to develop the aneurysm prognosis classifier revealed the importance of additional interrogation of medical images using biomechanical and morphological analyses,” said Timothy Chung, a postdoctoral associate in the Vascular Bioengineering Lab who will help lead the project. “Utilizing a strong research team and collaborations offered at Pitt, we aim to improve and personalize AAA patient healthcare.”

Rory Cooper Receives Biomedical Engineering Award

Accolades, Bioengineering

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has honored Pitt’s Rory Cooper with its Biomedical Engineering Award for his “extensive contributions to wheelchair technology that have expanded mobility and reduced secondary injuries for millions of people with disabilities.”Cooper, Pitt’s first-ever assistant vice chancellor for research for STEM-health sciences collaborations and founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, among many other titles, is also an elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and several other professional societies.“This award is shared by my students (past and present), family, friends and colleagues within the Human Engineering Research Laboratories," Cooper said of the IEEE honor.

BioE Announces First Jane and Jerome Schultz Outstanding Senior Design Award

Bioengineering, Student Profiles

The Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh recently announced the first recipients of its Jane and Jerome Schultz Outstanding Senior Design Award. The award recognizes undergraduate bioengineering students who demonstrate outstanding performance throughout the two-semester capstone Senior Design class. Recipients receive certificates and cash awards ($2,100 total in 2021) for their achievement.Two student teams were selected for the inaugural 2021 award:Trauma Informed Speculum DesignHannah Geisler, Oreoluwa Odeniyi, Katherine Miller, Amritha Justin, Neharika Chodapaneedi, Joseph Sukinik, and Johanna SiegelPulse Assessment in Distal Extremities After Open FracturesDaniela Krahe, Seth Eisenberg, Jason Zheng, Nikhita Perry, Connor Gillis, and Kevin LynchThis newly instituted award was made possible by an endowment fund established by Dr. Jerome S. Schultz in memory of his late wife, Dr. Jane Schultz. Dr. Schultz graduated from Columbia University with a BS and MS in chemical engineering and earned a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1987 and eventually became the founding chairman of Pitt’s Department of Bioengineering in 1998. He is currently a distinguished professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston.“We are incredibly grateful to receive such a generous gift from the founding chair of our department,” said Sanjeev Shroff, Distinguished Professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering. “Dr. Schultz established a strong foundation for what our department has become. We have always strived to provide students with a robust, hands-on bioengineering education, and they continually impress us with their creative solutions to unmet biomedical needs. With this endowment, we will be able to recognize our undergraduate students for their outstanding efforts in the area of biomedical innovation and design.”

BioE Pole Vaulter Michelle Karabin Receives NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Bioengineering, Accolades, Student Profiles

Michelle Karabin, a bioengineering PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, received a $10,000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship award after four years of pole vaulting on Carnegie Mellon University’s track and field team. The NCAA awards 21 scholarships to men and women in each of the three sport seasons. Recipients must excel academically and athletically and be in their final year of college athletics.Karabin is an All-American for the 2018 outdoor season and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team selection. She also qualified for the 2020 NCAA Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships, which marked her second appearance at this annual event. Balancing academic life with an athletic career is a challenge for many student-athletes, but Karabin soared to the top of the class. She is an NCAA Elite 90 winner, which is a recognition for the top student-athlete — with the highest cumulative grade-point average — at each of the 90 national championship levels.“I was very grateful that CMU provided me the opportunity to pursue my passion for engineering and track and field,” she said.Karabin, who received a BS in mechanical and biomedical engineering at CMU, now works in the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory focusing on balance in locomotion and the effects of vestibular loss.

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