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Message from the Chair

We have a lot to celebrate at the Rice University Department of Bioengineering. First is the 20th anniversary of the founding of our department. This milestone is more than just a date in time, it is a reflection of advancing leadership traced by the steady progression of some of the most exciting research at the intersections of biology and engineering. It is also a driving dedication to excellence in education, engineering design, and the elevation of the work of our students and alumni.

This milestone also shares an anniversary with many of the Rice research centers and institutes closely tied to our department that inspire research, innovate, educate, and launch new ventures.

The Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB), which was founded by Dr. Fred Rudolph and Dr. Larry McIntire, celebrates 30 years of milestones in which bioengineering faculty members have helped shape, including the creation of partnerships with industry, the translation of research, and in building strong programs in research and training. Dr. McIntire was also the founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering. This year, bioengineering’s Jane Grande-Allen was named IBB director.

The Center for Excellence in Tissue Engineering, directed by Antonios Mikos, Rice’s Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will host the 25th Advances in Tissue Engineering short course. Over the years, this internationally known event has brought some of the greatest minds in tissue engineering, biomaterials, and regenerative medicine to Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative.

The most creative and award-winning educational program in the university’s history – Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health – was founded by Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum a decade ago. A bioengineering faculty member since joining Rice in 2005 as an endowed professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering, Dr. Richards-Kortum was recently awarded a University Professorship, Rice’s highest academic title. Recent news of Rice 360°’s global health efforts are highlighted within this publication.

In celebrating the remarkable trajectory of research discoveries, we also remember the legendary name of J. David Hellums, who died June 26 at the age of 86. Dr. Hellums, the A.J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was pioneer in biomedical research, a founder of the Department of Bioengineering, and former dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

To further enhance our research and education in his name, we are actively raising funds to establish the David Hellums Memorial Fund in Bioengineering. This fund will advance Rice’s leadership in the biological age and enable the next generation of path-breaking bioengineers to safely and reliably design new biological materials - devices, medicines, tissues, fuels - that will tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Watch bioe.rice.edu and our social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter, and the Rice Bioengineering Channel on YouTube for news on our 20th Anniversary events and colloquia series, updates on our basic and translational research, and our engineering design efforts. Until then, all my best wishes.

Deem_ChairMichael W. Deem
Chair and Professor, Department of Bioengineering
John W. Cox Professor of Biochemical & Genetic Engineering; Founding Director, Graduate Program in Systems,
Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014)