Message from the Interim Chair

Mark Redfern, Interim Chair of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Alumni,

I enjoyed seeing many of you at Pitt Homecoming and the BMES annual meeting last month, and today I’m happy to share the fall 2022 edition of our Bioengineering newsletter from the University of Pittsburgh. I have a new role as Interim Department Chair, succeeding Sanjeev G. Shroff who this past August was appointed our Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. Sanjeev’s tireless dedication to faculty, staff, and students has placed the Department on a great trajectory; this past year every metric of success in enrollment, research, scholarship, and student placement have increased significantly. I know you join me in thanking him for his contributions to Bioengineering and wish him well in his new role. With your help, I hope to keep the momentum going into the future.

Leading this edition’s news is a profile of one of our outstanding faculty, Dr. Rakié Cham. Her research into postural stability and reducing falls is a critical part of our Human Movement and Balance Laboratory, and I’m equally proud that she’s also an alumna of our program, having earned her PhD in 2000. Her mentorship of our students is also an inspiration. This year we celebrate her election as President of the American Society of Biomechanics – a well-deserved accomplishment for an amazing bioengineer.

Bioengineers like Rakié thrive at Pitt because of the collegiality and interdisciplinary environment here on campus and throughout our city. The bioengineering community at Pitt includes faculty and students from across the university, including secondary appointments held by faculty from other the Swanson School departments, as well as in Pitt’s School of Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, School of Dental Medicine, and Arts and Sciences. In addition, there are numerous collaborations with clinicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

One of the attributes that make these collaborations possible is proximity – all schools and the UPMC hospital core are only a few blocks from each other. This also enables incredible opportunities for our undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to gain clinical experiences and engage in hands-on research. You’ll read about some of those people in this newsletter.

As we continue to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our learning and research landscape, here at the Swanson School we’re continuing to explore how to adapt our programs. We are creating new initiatives and working to increase the engagement of our alumni across sectors including healthcare, industry, and government. I am excited about the opportunities that exist to bring our Bioengineering community together as we move forward.

I look forward to seeing many of you again in person this upcoming year. We’re in the beginning stages of planning the 25th anniversary of our department’s founding and will be in touch with more details as those plans come together for 2023. I hope all of you can make it to the celebration next fall. Thanks for your continued support of the Department of Bioengineering at Pitt!


Mark Redfern, PhD
Professor and Interim Chair of Bioengineering