Months before students get back to the classroom, three new faculty members in the Rice University Department of Bioengineering with an exclusive focus on teaching, biomedical engineering and design have been getting ready to inspire and engage their cohort in research-based, problem-driven curriculum and entrepreneurship.
Sabia Abidi’s, Ph.D., solid technical background in stem cell differentiation, microfluidics, parasitological and microbiological techniques brings valuable knowledge and experience to undergraduate bioengineering education. These experiences combine advanced applications in regenerative medicine and microfluidic-based strategies for immunological and blood-related disease treatment and detection.
Her academic experience has focused on teaching courses in bioengineering fundamentals, quantitative physiology, engineering design, and emerging diseases and global health. Using the techniques learned in the MIT Kaufman and EdTech teaching certificate programs, Abidi will implement a variety of teaching methods and student-centered, problem-based learning strategies to personalize undergraduate bioengineering education and laboratory instruction.
Prior to her Rice appointment, Abidi worked as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and a B.S. in biomedical engineering at Texas A&M University.
Lance Black, M.D., brings a strong background in medicine, engineering, and biomedical innovation to his leadership as lead instructor in Rice’s Capstone Engineering Design for Bioengineering. He also serves as a medical device lead for the TMC Innovation Institute located in the Texas Medical Center.
Prior to joining Rice, Black served in the U.S. Air Force as a family and flight medicine physician with additional training in aerospace medicine. In 2010, he was deployed on a six-month assignment as chief of the medical staff to Manas Transit Base in Kyrgyzstan where he created a mobile modular medical facility for use in underserved areas.
Black has five years of experience in academia and biomedical engineering design working as an assistant professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and as a medical affairs manager for the Global Center for Medical Innovation, which is affiliated with Emory University/Georgia Institute of Technology.
Black’s efforts in lifecycle medical innovation and entrepreneurship have led to one patent and five applications. He is the founder of MD Medical Designs, Inc. and a co-founder of Renastent, LLC – two medical device startup companies in Marietta, GA.
He has a master’s degree in Biomedical Innovation & Development and in Industrial Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, and a B.S. in bioengineering from Louisiana State.
Will Clifton, M.D., is a life-science entrepreneur and bioengineer with a background in medical device and invention education. As director of the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) track in Rice's Master of Bioengineering (M.B.E.) program, his focus is on preparing engineers to work in the growing and dynamic medical technology industry.
Clifton will leverage his background to help students identify unmet medical needs, determine if their early-stage projects can become a viable business, and help them think through the strategic steps to get through a clinical trial and first approval.
Prior to joining Rice, Clifton was the senior director of medical affairs at Procyrion, where he spent six years developing a minimally invasive pump to treat heart failure, taking it from a prototype through first-in-human clinical trials. His research has led to one issued patent, multiple peer-reviewed publications, and an upcoming multi-continent clinical study.
Clifton has a B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), where he continued to study medical technology with a focus in minimally invasive surgical technologies with mentorship from William Cohn, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at BCM and the Texas Heart Institute. He also pursued advanced research through a one-year Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship with otolaryngologist John Oghalai to investigate hearing loss and novel cochlear implant technology.
As the founder of Enventure, a non-profit medtech organization that provides open education and experiential learning opportunities to Houston students, Clifton has hosted and lectured numerous courses at Rice, BCM, and the Texas Medical Center. In 2014, he was selected as one of Qmed's 30 Under 30 top Medtech Innovators in the United States.