The Rice University Department of Bioengineering will add Jerzy Szablowski to its tenure-track faculty in 2020, as part of the Rice Neuroengineering Initiative
. Szablowski begins his appointment as an assistant professor in January, with an office and lab at the BioScience Research Collaborative in the Texas Medical Center.
Since 2015, Szablowski has been a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Caltech’s Mikhail Shapiro. He earned his B.S. in biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in bioengineering at Caltech. Szablowski’s research has resulted in 12 journal publications and two patents.
"There are so many things to be excited about at Rice,” Szablowski said. “The open-minded research environment, the forward-thinking Neuroengineering Initiative, excellent students, the list goes on. But if I had to name only one thing, it would be an opportunity to work with some of the brightest engineers in the country to make the world a better place. It's a privilege.”
His new research group, the Laboratory for Noninvasive Neuroengineering, will develop innovative platform technologies for controlling and monitoring the brain that can be generalized to multiple experimental systems and brain disorders. The lab aims to speed up the process of scientific discovery and translation of cures to neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, contributing to the fields of ultrasound-enhanced drug and gene delivery, molecular engineering, directed evolution and synthetic and systems biology.
"Houston is a great town for biomedical researchers,” Szablowski said. “I think our proximity to the Texas Medical Center enables us to design future therapies that are more feasible for clinical translation. I am already talking to TMC researchers about clinical collaborations, and their drive makes me even more motivated to turn our technologies into real-world therapies.”
The Rice Neuroengineering Initiative, housed on the eighth and ninth floors of the Bioscience Research Collaborative, includes 26 researchers representing seven engineering departments and the Department of Psychology at Rice, and others from the University of Texas Health Science Center and Baylor College of Medicine. The initiative fosters the integration of advanced scientific and engineering approaches to the analysis and control of the nervous system in order to enhance and restore neuronal function. The Rice Board of Trustees approved its creation in May 2018.