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Rensselaer Names Vashishth New Head of Biomedical Engineering

November 23, 2009

Rensselaer Names Vashishth New Head of Biomedical Engineering

Professor and bone expert Deepak Vashishth has been named head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The appointment is effective November 1.

“Dr. Vashishth brings tremendous experience and a deep knowledge of the biomedical field and the department at Rensselaer to this position,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “I am confident he will guide the department skillfully through the years ahead as we add faculty, expand research, create new cross-cutting programs, and elevate Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer.”

Vashishth received his bachelor’s degree from the Malviya National Institute of Technology in 1989, and went on to earn his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at West Virginia University in 1992, and doctorate in biomedical materials from the University of London in 1997. He joined Rensselaer’s School of Engineering in 1999, after serving for two years as a postdoctoral research fellow in bone biomechanics and biology at the Bone and Joint Research Center in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

At Rensselaer, Vashishth is among the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine core faculty of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS). His interdisciplinary research focus, propelled by more than $3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), includes biology and hard tissue mechanics, cellular control of tissue growth and development, mechanobiology of skeletal tissue regeneration, and fatigue fractures of long bones. Through cellular and tissue-level studies, Vashishth investigates and identifies age-related changes in the biological and mechanical characteristics of skeletal tissues. He also endeavors to develop microenvironments that are conducive to functional tissue engineering of bone.

“Ours is one of the oldest biomedical engineering departments in the nation and we combine a strong engineering tradition of problem solving with research and scholarship,” Vashishth said. “This opportunity to lead the department in an era of new and exciting developments at Rensselaer is a great honor, and I look forward to working with our world-class faculty to produce a new generation of biomedical engineers and move the department ahead in national rankings.”

Since joining the Institute in 1999, Vashishth has won several awards, including the 2002 Outstanding Professor Award from the Rensselaer Interfraternity Greek Council, and the 2002 Rensselaer Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2003, he received the Rensselaer School of Engineering Research Award, and in 2005 received the Rensselaer Class of 1951 Outstanding Teaching Award.

The author of more than 40 peer-reviewed papers, Vashishth is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, and serves as a reviewer for several funding agencies and more than a dozen journals in the area of mechanics and biology of musculoskeletal systems. He regularly serves as a member of special emphasis panels for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Research, and is a reviewer for the national research organizations of Austria, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

“As part of Rensselaer’s biotechnology initiative, the Department of Biomedical Engineering is undergoing significant expansion,” Vashishth said. “We are taking several ambitious steps to move forward and are looking to add three new faculty next year.”

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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.