ENGINEERING NEWS

Five Faculty Members Elected to Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Northwestern inductees among 145 engineers who make up AIMBE’s College of Fellows Class of 2017

Five researchers with Northwestern Engineering ties have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s (AIMBE) College of Fellows.

Mitra J.Z. Hartmann, Joseph R. Moskal, Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi, John A. Rogers, and Teresa Woodruff are among 145 engineers who make up the College of Fellows Class of 2017. They will be inducted during AIMBE’s 2017 annual meeting on March 20 in Washington, D.C.

The College of Fellows comprises the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. Current AIMBE Fellows have received some of the nation’s highest awards, including the Presidential Medal of Science and Presidential Medal of Technology and Innovation. Many are also members of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Sciences.

Mitra HartmannMitra J.Z. Hartmann is a professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering. Her research aims to better understand how movement and touch are combined in the brain to enable perception. This work could ultimately help people who are disabled by stroke or brain injury.

A member of Northwestern’s Neuroscience and Robotics Lab, Hartmann studies neurobiology and biomechanics of active sensing behaviors. To study these behaviors, her team develops bio-inspired computational models and hardware to test candidate neurobiological algorithms. Her group is particularly interested in how sensory feedback is used in real time to guide motor activity and how movement enables sensory acquisition and perception.

Joseph MoskalJoseph R. Moskal is a distinguished research professor in Northwestern’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. He studies the brain’s NMDA receptor — work that has led to the design and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of depression.

“I am honored to join such an elite group of engineers,” said Moskal, founding director of Northwestern’s Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics. "I hope this will help motivate the next generation to continue to develop what we have only begun to understand."

Moskal founded and served as chief scientific officer of Naurex, Inc., a drug discovery company that develops therapies for difficult-to-treat depression and other central nervous system diseases. While at Naurex, his team developed rapastinel, a novel therapy for treatment-resistant major depression, which is now in phase III clinical trials. In 2015, Allergan acquired Naurex for $1.7 billion. 

Now, Moskal is the co-founder of Aptinyx, Inc., which targets areas of pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury for therapeutic development. Last year, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors and the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Ferdinando Mussa-IvaldiFerdinando Mussa-Ivaldi is a professor of biomedical engineering, by courtesy, and a professor of physiology and physical medicine and rehabilitation in Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. His research aims to understand the mechanisms of motor control and learning, and how these mechanisms can be used to help people recover from disability. 

Mussa-Ivaldi is responsible for a number of novel scientific achievements, including the first measurement of multi-joint impedance for the human arm. His discoveries have profoundly influenced strategies for motor rehabilitation following stroke and spinal cord injury, on the design of human-machine systems, and on robot control.

John RogersA member of the National Academy of Engineering, John A. Rogers is the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurological Surgery. Rogers is internationally renowned for designing and developing classes of electronic devices that can bend, stretch, and twist, be integrated with the human body, and have diverse diagnostic and therapeutic function. His research spans disciplines and exploits novel approaches to problems with the potential to change the fields of industrial, consumer, and biocompatible electronics.

Rogers has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Smithsonian Award for American Ingenuity in the Physical Sciences, and election into the National Academy of Inventors.

Teresa WoodruffTeresa Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Feinberg School of Medicine and professor of biomedical engineering, by courtesy. An expert on ovarian biology and reproductive science, she is an internationally recognized leader in fertility research.

A reproductive endocrinologist, Woodruff leads the Oncofertility Consortium, a national team of oncologists, fertility specialists, social scientists, educators, and policymakers to translate her research to the clinical care of women who will lose their fertility due to cancer treatment. Her many awards include the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mentoring, the Beacon Award from Frontiers in Reproduction, and the Women in Science Award from the Weitzman Institute. She was also named to Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People in 2013.