Rice bioengineer Jane Grande-Allen has been honored with the 2020 Diamond Award for Distinguished Achievement in Academia from her alma mater, the University of Washington. She and fellow 2020 Diamond Awards recipients will be recognized at a ceremony on June 6.
Grande-Allen is chair and the Isabel C. Cameron Professor in Bioengineering. She is an internationally recognized expert in extracellular matrix in cardiac valves, particularly proteoglycans, using a range of technologies including genetic engineering, 3D tissue culture, and micro- and nanofabrication approaches. Her work revealed the unique role that proteoglycans play in cardiac valve structure, function and disease biology. Her innovations have been instrumental in collaborative research with clinicians to study heart valves and blood vessels, as well as intestinal disease and lung cancer. The contributions of her research have enabled advances in regenerative medicine that have touched the lives of countless patients.
She received her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Washington in 1998. After a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, she joined Rice as an assistant professor in 2003. She has served as faculty adviser to the president, director of the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) and was appointed department chair in 2017.
In her tenure as chair, she has grown the faculty, championed diversity, expanded research and teaching space, overseen the revision of the undergraduate curriculum and successfully applied for $16 million from CPRIT in startup package funding to recruit new faculty to Rice. Jane has authored more than 135 publications and her research program has received more than $10 million in funding from the NSF, NIH and the American Heart Association.
The Diamond Awards honor outstanding University of Washington alumni and friends who have made significant contributions to the field of engineering.