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Jane Grande-Allen elected BMES Fellow

Rice University bioengineer recognized for basic, clinical research
in heart-valve disease

By Shawn Hutchins
Rice BIOE News

110623_Grande_Fitlow_015_webJane Grande-Allen has been elected to the Biomedical Engineering Society's (BMES) Class of 2013 Fellows for her significant contributions to the field of biomedical engineering through investigations into the mechanics of heart-valve disease.

Grande-Allen, a professor of bioengineering at Rice University, conducts research at the intersection of biology, mechanical engineering and materials engineering. Her investigations at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative precisely analyze heart-valve tissue composition and behavior to pinpoint “Why?” “How?” and “Where?” cells interface and respond to disease. The experimental methods involve the testing of valve tissue function, strength and elasticity, growth, and abnormalities from nano to macro lengths of scale. Grande-Allen then applies this knowledge of soft-tissue physiology and mechanics to forecast changes in tissue structure and function over the course of a lifetime.

“When Dr. Grande-Allen began her research as a young investigator, the field was primarily focused on prosthetic valves. Over the years, her efforts have positioned her as a leading expert in heart-valve tissue pathology and physiology,” said Rebecca Richards-Kortum, chair of Rice’s Department of Bioengineering. “We celebrate her successes in biomedical engineering and her election as fellow of BMES.”

Results of Grande-Allen’s investigations have led to new surgical and medical therapies that can be used to treat patients earlier, have shown new alternatives in drug therapies, and have greatly contributed to the development of novel biomaterials and tissue-engineered materials for heart valves. She has authored or co-authored 79 peer-reviewed scientific journals, and has been recognized by numerous awards, including the A.J. Durelli Award from the Society for Experimental Mechanics, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and the Editorial Excellence Award by the Annals of Biomedical Engineering – the official journal of BMES.

In addition to her BMES fellowship and service to the organization’s Board of Directors, Grande-Allen is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a former member of the executive board of the Society for Experimental Mechanics. She also serves on the advisory board for the Pumps and Pipes Initiative, a unique effort to explore potential crossover ideas and technologies between Houston’s medical and oil and gas industries.

Grande-Allen’s research at Rice has been supported by the American Heart Association; March of Dimes; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; the National Science Foundation; Pfizer; and the Whitaker Foundation.