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Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University! Our Bioengineering students, faculty, and staff are deeply invested in transformational research at the intersection of physical and life sciences, mathematical and computational sciences, medicine, and complementary engineering disciplines. While biology and biological processes are fundamental to our research, it is through the integration of engineering and technological tools that we expand basic science and positively impact human health by ways of improved drug design and biotherapeutics, biomaterials, tissue engineering, biomechanics, targeted genome and epigenome editing, synthetic biology, and innovative tools for disease diagnostics. Our educational and research endeavors are enhanced by Rice’s close proximity to the Texas Medical Center, where the majority of our faculty have collaborations.

Rice bioengineering undergraduate and doctoral degree programs have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation for more than a decade. This year we are also celebrating significant milestones in our professional master’s degree programs. The Applied Bioengineering track of the Master of Bioengineering (M.B.E.) degree has now graduated more than 100 students. These alumni are now working in a diverse range of careers including medical device and biotechnology companies, patent law, and medicine. In honor of these first 100 students, we established a new alumni award for outstanding M.B.E. graduates. In addition, our newest track of the M.B.E. – Global Medical Innovation (GMI) is now in its third year with its largest class to date. You can learn more about GMI classes and student internship blog at gmi.rice.edu.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, we welcome Omid Veiseh, Isaac Hilton, and Caleb Bashor as assistant professors of bioengineering. Their recruitment is strategic to our continued growth in research and education.

Veiseh joins us after spending the last year at Sigilon Inc., a biomaterials startup he co-founded in Cambridge, Mass, after his postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. His research lab will develop innovative biomaterials intended for cancer and regenerative medicine and applications that will deliver localized therapies to various parts of the body. Veiseh earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Western Washington University and a dual Ph.D. in materials science and engineering and nanoengineering from the University of Washington.

Hilton’s lab will focus on the basic mechanisms that control how genes are normally and aberrantly expressed in healthy and diseased human cells. His ultimate goal is to synthetically engineer genetic and epigenetic mechanisms to therapeutically address and treat cancer. Hilton comes to Rice from Duke University. He has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

In mammalian synthetic biology, researchers build artificial signaling networks to elucidate cellular design principles and reprogram cells to function as novel therapeutics. Bashor, a postdoctoral research fellow from MIT’s Institute for Medical and Engineering Science, will focus his efforts to engineer multi-input sense and response signaling circuitry to improve mammalian synthetic biology and technologies to make biology easier to engineer. He has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Reed College and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco.

The department also welcomes the opening of the new Biomaterials Lab within in our recently established Center for Engineering Complex Tissues (CECT). The Biomaterials Lab houses equipment for fabrication and characterization of biomaterials, including several 3-D printers and biofabrication systems. This facility is dedicated to improving patient health and overcoming medical challenges through the development and support of biomaterials research, education, and entrepreneurship. Tools, training, and support will be provided to students at all levels, faculty, staff, and collaborators at Rice University and the surrounding community.

Numerous events hosted by our faculty, such as the annual Advances in Tissue Engineering short course, the Innovation Symposium, the Precision Genome Editing Workshop, and the Bioengineering Design Showcase of Innovative Medical Technologies, continue to expand our academic-to-industry relations.  We encourage you to visit our events calendar for more information.

Jane_Grande-Allen

K. Jane Grande-Allen, Ph.D. 
Isabel C. Cameron Professor
Chair and Professor, Department of Bioengineering