New York: Tejal Desai, an Indian American biomedical engineer, has been appointed the next dean of Brown University’s School of Engineering, according to a Brown University media release.
An expert in applying micro- and nanoscale technologies to create new ways to deliver medicine to targeted sites in the human body, Desai is a professor and a former longtime chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California San Francisco and inaugural director of UCSF’s Health Innovations Via Engineering initiative, noted the release.
She has held academic leadership positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Boston University and UCSF, and has served in recent years as a member of Brown’s biomedical engineering advisory board.
Brown president Christina H. Paxson and Provost Richard M. Locke announced Desai’s appointment Jan. 12.
“In addition to her ground breaking research, Professor Desai has been a transformative leader of programs that develop and support young researchers, foster cross-disciplinary approaches to critical engineering challenges and support diversity, equity and inclusion in the engineering field,” Paxson and Locke wrote. “As a Brown graduate, she keenly understands the innovative and collaborative character of engineering at Brown, and we look forward to working with her in her new role as dean.”
Desai will begin her tenure on Sept. 1, 2022.
Desai said she looks forward to leading a program that was formative in her own career as a researcher and educator. “Brown engineers tend to be people with a very particular drive to improve the world around them,” she said in the release. “Students come to Brown because they want to make a positive impact on society and they see engineering as a powerful way to do that. I am excited about coming back to Brown to create a vision of how the school as a whole can represent those ideals, and how it can continue to be a leader in this intersection between engineering and societal impact.”
Desai has earned recognition as one of MIT Technology Review’s Top 100 Young Innovators, one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, and as the winner of the 2012 Paul R. Dawson Biotechnology Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Inventors, as well as president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Brown in 1994, Desai earned her Ph.D. jointly from UCSF and UC Berkeley in 1998. That same year, she became the first faculty hire in University of Illinois at Chicago’s newly formed Department of Bioengineering. She joined the Boston University faculty in 2002 before moving to UCSF in 2005.