A baker's dozen of new faculty hires

For Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, it is a time of dynamic growth — expansion on all fronts, including an unprecedented spate of faculty hiring. Over the past three years, the school has hired 13 new faculty members, with a half-dozen more promoted to full professor.

“Our growth reflects widespread increased demand for technological solutions to problems in health care,” says George Wodicka, head of the Weldon School. “We anticipated enormous growth in clinical and industrial needs this decade, and we’re innovating in biomedical education, translational research and entrepreneurship to meet these head-on.”

Indeed, the job market for biomedical engineers is poised to grow by an incredible 27 percent by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As well as the faculty expansion, the Weldon School’s undergraduate student body will increase by 33 percent in the 2015-16 academic year, and the doctoral student body by 50 percent.

In the school’s expansion plans, which dovetail with Purdue Moves and the College of Engineering’s strategic growth initiative, the No. 1 goal is to rapidly add to Weldon’s diverse and research-intensive faculty.

Each new faculty member is strategically selected to strengthen the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs and broaden the Weldon School’s research and health care impact. The assembly of new minds also enables the school to branch out and form even stronger ties to the booming medical device and biotech industries in Indiana and around the globe.

“Our new faculty members complement and build up on our research strengths, and allow us to expand and enter new areas such as nanodiagnostics, global health, and molecular-level imaging,” Wodicka says.

To demonstrate the breadth and depth of the Weldon School’s new capabilities, here’s a quick look at the 13 newest faculty members:

Sarah Calve

Among the projects in her Musculoskeletal Extracellular Matrix Lab, Professor Calve is working to mimic the biomechanical environment in which soft tissues form in vivo, with the aim of developing improved muscle and tendon replacements. Her degrees are in materials science and engineering; molecular, cellular and developmental biology; and macromolecular science and engineering. Calve earned her PhD from the University of Michigan and did postdoctoral work at Northwestern University’s Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Shelley Claridge

A central theme of Professor Claridge’s research is the development of integrated imaging strategies that advance the limits of single-molecule structural analysis on the 0.1-10 nanometer scale, addressing challenges ranging from understanding protein structure to optimizing nanoscale device performance. She has degrees in mathematics, biochemistry and genetics, and chemistry. Claridge received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley; she did postdoctoral work at UCLA and Penn State University. Details.

Craig Goergen

Using small-animal disease models, Professor Goergen’s research focuses on developing and deploying multiple imaging techniques to better understand cardiovascular disease. He directs the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Laboratory. Goergen earned his PhD from Stanford University in biomedical engineering and did postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School. Details.

Joaquín Goñi

Professor Goñi works in brain connectomics, assessing structural and functional connectivity of the human brain by applying approaches based on complex systems to MRI data. He earned a PhD from the University of Navarra School of Sciences (Spain) and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory in Center for Applied Medical Research (Spain). From 2011 to 2014, he was a Research Associate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington. Details.

Fang Huang

Professor Huang develops high-resolution optical imaging methods (called super-resolution microscopy or nanoscopy) that are capable of resolving subcellular structures in three dimensions while monitoring their dynamics in live cells and thick tissues with nanometer resolution. He develops novel nanoscopy instruments that combine techniques from engineering and physics, such as single photon interference, nanofabrication and adaptive optics. He earned his PhD in physics from the University of New Mexico and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Medicine. Details.

Taeyoon Kim

Professor Kim's research program addresses central problems in biomechanics: the microscopic origins of acto-myosin contractility and cellular viscoelasticity and mechanotransduction. He directs the  Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue (MCT) Biomechanics Laboratory, which studies diverse mechanical behaviors of biological matter, using cutting-edge computational models that span subcellular levels to cell and tissue levels. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his postdoctoral studies were at MIT and the University of Chicago.  Details.

Chi Hwan Lee

In Professor Lee's NextGen BioNanoTronics Lab, research focuses on advanced nanomanufacturing processes for flexible, stretchable, and bio-dissolvable electronics for broad applications in energy systems, nanoelectronics and biomedical devices. Lee’s interdisciplinary background is in mechanical and industrial engineering. He earned his PhD from Stanford University and did his postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Details.

Hugh Lee

Professor Lee has extensive experience in implantable electronic neurostimulation devices. He directs the Laboratory of Implantable Microsystems Research, where he focuses on developing implantable microsystems and other technologies with neurological applications. With an academic background in neuroscience and biomedical engineering, he received his PhD from UCLA. Details.

Jackie Linnes

With a strong focus on global health, Professor Linnes’ lab specializes in the rapid detection of diseases to efficiently diagnose a variety of environmental, bacterial and viral pathogens at the point of care. Applications of her work range from global health to biodefense to personalized medicine. Linnes has degrees in bioengineering and interdisciplinary engineering. She earned her PhD from the University of Washington. Linnes undertook postdoctoral studies at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Boston University. Details.

Zhongming Liu

Professor Liu’s primary research interest is the development and application of innovative imaging methods (such as MRI, EEG, MEG and ECoG) to study brain function and anatomy. In his Laboratory of Integrated Brain Imaging, he has recently made significant progress in developing a novel fMRI-EEG integrated-imaging technique for mapping comprehensive neural networks in the human brain. His degrees are in electrical and biomedical engineering, receiving his PhD from the University of Minnesota and with postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health. 

Ramses Martinez

Professor Martinez’s research interest lies in nanofabrication and exploring new applications in energy technology, nanoelectronics, nanofluidics, biosensing and photonics. His research laboratory, called “FlexiLab,” seeks to develop multifunctional flexible devices such as wearable and implantable nanoelectronics. With degrees in physics and materials science, Martinez earned his PhD from the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Spanish National Research Council and undertook postdoctoral research at Harvard University. Details.

Joseph Rispoli

Professor Rispoli’s research focuses on novel hardware and methodology for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He is particularly interested in anatomically tailored radiofrequency-coil design for high-field studies, in vivo spectroscopy of multiple NMR-active nuclei, and electromagnetic modeling for patient safety and design evaluation. His degrees are in electrical engineering, computer engineering and biomedical engineering. His PhD is from Texas A&M. Prior to his graduate work, Rispoli worked as a computer engineer at Dell Inc. Details.

Tami Kinzer-Ursem

Professor Kinzer-Ursem implements a combined theoretical-experimental approach to quantitatively study the dynamic regulation of protein networks that drive cellular behaviors. Her lab focuses on tools development for studying protein function and signaling dynamics. She earned her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and undertook postdoctoral studies at Caltech. Details.