Emeritus Faculty

UW Bioengineering emeritus faculty are retired from active teaching and research activities in the department, do not maintain labs, and do not accept graduate students. Emeritus faculty include:

Kirk W. Beach
David M. Foster
Michael Hlastala
Allan S. Hoffman
Thomas A. Horbett
Martin J. Kushmerick
Henry C. Lai
Roy Martin
Don Martyn
Francis Spelman
Pedro Verdugo

Faculty, Staff, and Postdoctoral Fellow Job Openings

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Direct Freshman Admission: December 1, 2014Apply
Upper Admission: February 1, 2015Apply
Early Admission: July 1, 2015Apply
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M.S. and Ph.D. Programs: December 2, 2014 (11:59 PST) Apply
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Professional Master's: September 10, 2014 (11:59 PM PST) for Winter Quarter 2015 admission Apply
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Non-Degree Certificates: Please contact UW Professional and Continuing Education.
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Kelli Jayn Nichols, Director of Academic Services
I direct UW Bioengineering Academic Services and advise undergraduate students.
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Marta Scatena, Graduate Program Coordinator
Holly Williams
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Holly Williams, Academic Counselor, Undergraduate Programs
Peggy Sharp
I advise current and prospective MS, PhD and PharBE students.
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Peggy Sharp, Academic Counselor, Graduate Programs
Lael Wentland, UW Bioengineering peer advisor
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B.S. Bioengineering Information Sessions

  • Wednesday, April 8, 12:30 – 1:45 p.m., Foege N230
  • Thursday, April 30, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m., Foege N230
Academic Programs by the Numbers
    • Undergraduate enrollment: 180
    • Bachelor’s degrees awarded: 53
    • Graduate enrollment: 153
    • Master’s degrees awarded: 29
    • Doctoral degrees awarded: 16
    2014 data


  • PolySTAT image

Injectable polymer could stop bleeding, save lives

Image: A 3-D rendering of fibrin forming a blood clot, with PolySTAT (in blue) binding strands together.William Walker/University of Washington

UW bioengineers from Robert F. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering Suzie Pun’s lab, along with collaborators from Emergency Medicine and Chemical Engineering, have developed an injectable polymer that could keep soldiers and trauma patients from bleeding to death. The researchers published their findings in the March 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine, and their work was featured on the issue’s cover.

Bleeding is responsible for 30 to 40 percent of trauma-related deaths and is a leading cause of death in the initial hours after injury. In some cases of bleeding there’s not much first responders can do, particularly in combat environments and other low-resource settings blood product treatments aren’t always available.

The UW researchers’ polymer, PolySTAT, addresses the need for a stable, reliable treatment that can be used on the field. When injected, the polymer seeks out unseen or internal injuries and starts working quickly.

The researchers were inspired by Factor XIII, a natural protein that helps strengthen blood clots. After an injury, a clot forms when blood platelets gather at a wound, which is then reinforced by specialized fibers called fibrin. Both PolySTAT and Factor XIII work by binding fibrin strands together and adding “cross-links” that reinforce clots.

However, the researchers found that PolySTAT formed much more stable clots. They examined PolySTAT in an animal model of typically fatal femoral artery injury in rats. “We were really testing how robust the clots were that formed,” said BioE Ph.D. student and the paper’s lead author, Leslie Chan. “The animals injected with PolySTAT bled much less, and 100 percent of them lived.”

PolySTAT potentially offers several advantages over blood products. Blood products  are expensive, need to be kept refrigerated or frozen, are susceptible to bacteria and can carry infectious diseases. They also may not work well in a patient suffering a traumatic injury, who will start to lose a protein that helps fibrin form. PolySTAT doesn’t require special storage and can strengthen clots even when a patient’s levels of fibrin precursor are low. “This is something you could potentially put in a syringe inside a backpack and give right away to reduce blood loss and keep people alive long enough to make it to medical care,” said Dr. Nathan White, co-author and assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW.

The researchers said that PolySTAT’s initial safety profile appears promising. Their next steps are to test it on larger animals and investigate whether it binds to unintended substances. They also will look into its potential as a hemophilia treatment, and for integration into bandages. If these studies go well, PolySTAT may enter human trials in five years.

Read more about PolySTAT at UW News and Information: An injectable UW polymer could keep soldiers, trauma patients from bleeding to death

By |March 13th, 2015|Core Faculty, News, Research, Students, Suzie Pun|Comments Off on Injectable polymer could stop bleeding, save lives
  • UW Bioengineering chair Cecilia Giachelli

UW Bioengineering Announces New Chair Cecilia Giachelli

Join UW Bioengineering in welcoming Prof. Giachelli to her new role

Cecilia Giachelli has served as acting chair since fall 2013 and was appointed chair of the Department of Bioengineering on February 1, 2015. She has shown tremendous leadership during her time as acting chair and brings deep experience in both medicine and engineering that will continue to strengthen our interdisciplinary ties and position the department to grow and excel in the coming years.

Cecilia, a longtime University of Washington faculty member, currently serves as a professor of bioengineering and leads the Giachelli Lab for Cellular Bioengineering. She has made important contributions to the Department of Bioengineering and to the School of Medicine, where she serves as adjunct professor in both pathology and in oral sciences and was previously the deputy director of the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials research center.

Cecilia is internationally recognized for her work in the area of vascular calcification leading to the development of molecular and cellular therapies for chronic kidney disease and atherosclerosis.  Projects have included mechanistic studies for novel therapeutic targets and treatment for ectopic calcification in disease, traumatic injury, and medical devices, as well as identifying biomimetic strategies for biointerfaces in soft and hard tissue regeneration.

Her many honors include the University of Washington Postdoctoral Fellow Association Mentor of the Year Award, a Jack W. Coburn Lectureship from the American Society of Nephrology, an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association and fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

We appreciate the time and effort made by the search committee by chair Hank Levy (Computer Science and Engineering) and members Norman Beauchamp (Radiology), Xiaohu Gao (Bioengineering), Vikram Jandhyala (Innovation), Per Reinhall (Mechanical Engineering), Pat Stayton (Bioengineering), Bob Waterston (Genome Sciences), Sally Weatherford (Global Health), and Kim Woodrow (Bioengineering).

Learn about Cecilia Giachelli’s research

By |February 3rd, 2015|Cecilia Giachelli, Core Faculty, News, Research, Students|Comments Off on UW Bioengineering Announces New Chair Cecilia Giachelli
  • Lausanne, Switzerland

Undergraduate Ian Andrews selected for EPFL Summer Research Program in Life Sciences and Technology

Photo: Lausanne, Switzerland

Ian Andrews, a junior undergraduate in Dr. Barry Lutz’s lab, has been selected to participate in the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) School of Life Sciences Summer Research Program.

The School of Life Sciences Summer Research Program will be held July 6th through August 28th. The program offers an intensive research training opportunity to 25 undergraduates from around the world interested in research careers in life sciences. Each student will gain hands-on lab experience under the supervision of an EPFL faculty member. Students complete projects in EPFL’s Brain Mind Institute (BMI), Institute of Bioengineering (IBI), Global Health Institute (GHI) and Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC). Each student will work full-time in their faculty member mentor’s lab, attend weekly research seminars and a variety of social events.

The EPFL, located in Lausanne, Switzerland, was founded by the Swiss Federal Government with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, be a national center of excellence in science and technology and provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry. EPFL is among the world’s most prestigious universities in science, engineering and technology. The institution and has a strong reputation for faculty to student ratio, international outlook, scientific impact and high-profile research projects. Learn more about the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) School of Life Sciences Summer Research Program

By |February 27th, 2015|Barry Lutz, Core Faculty, News, Research, Students|Comments Off on Undergraduate Ian Andrews selected for EPFL Summer Research Program in Life Sciences and Technology
  • UW Bioengineering graduates

2015 Bioengineering Graduation Celebration

The 2015 Department of Bioengineering Graduation Celebration will be held on Friday, June 12th, 2015 in Hogness Auditorium.

Doors will open at 5:15pm and the program will begin at 5:30pm.

A reception will be held immediately following in South Campus Center 316 and the third floor lobby.

All BIOE students who will be graduating Autumn 2014, Winter, 2015, Spring 2015, or Summer 2015 are eligible to participate.


Please note that the Department of Bioengineering Graduation Celebration is different than the UW Commencement Ceremony that is held on Saturday, June 13th at Husky Stadium. More information on the university commencement can be found at http://www.washington.edu/graduation/

By |February 27th, 2015|Events, News, Research, Students|Comments Off on 2015 Bioengineering Graduation Celebration
  • Wayne Quinton, UW's "father of bioengineering"

Wayne Quinton, UW’s “father of bioengineering”, passes away at age 94, honored in Seattle Times obituary

Wayne Everett Quinton, known as the “father of bioengineering” at the University of Washington, passed away on January 22 at the age of 94. Quinton was known for his ability to work collaboratively with engineers and clinicians, becoming one of the first practitioners of bioengineering and serving an integral role in forming UW’s Center for Bioengineering, which became what is now the Department of Bioengineering. Quinton’s legacy and impact upon the field was recognized in a February 4 obituary in The Seattle Times.

Quinton is a 2009 recipient of UW’s Diamond Award for Entrepreneurship and was also honored with UW’s highest honor for a graduate — the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award.

Quinton joined UW in 1949, where he initially worked as an electronics technician developing heat-measuring equipment for an Arctic acclimatization study. Two years later, he accepted a job leading the new instrument shop for UW’s medical school. In this role, Quinton’s “raw curiosity” and ability to “speak physician” helped him establish productive cross-disciplinary relationships. “I never tried to say I knew something I didn’t. And I think because I kept asking the question ‘Why?,’ I taught them a little about engineering and they taught me a little about medicine,” Quinton said of his experience working with clinicians in a 2009 UW alumni magazine interview.

Quinton’s success in bridging the gap between engineering and medicine led to significant innovation in medical devices and his recognition as one of the nation’s “25 Top Young Scientists.” by Life magazine in 1950. His inventions include a bubble oxygenator that enabled physicians to perform the first open-heart surgery in the Pacific Northwest, a shunt that allowed kidney disease patients to be easily connected to dialysis machines and a lightweight treadmill that is now ubiquitous for its use in cardiac stress testing.

Outside of his job, Quinton pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, which he completed in 1959. However, friends and colleagues of Quinton’s said that his degree wasn’t necessarily an important factor in his success as a bioengineer. “The important thing was that (engineering) was in his soul,” said Buddy Ratner, UW professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering.

After earning his degree, Quinton left UW to establish his company, Quinton Instruments. The company, which he sold in 1984, is one of the oldest medical device companies in the region and contributed significantly to the growth of Seattle’s now-robust biotechnology sector.

By |February 13th, 2015|News, Research|Comments Off on Wayne Quinton, UW’s “father of bioengineering”, passes away at age 94, honored in Seattle Times obituary
  • podocytes_graphic_600_300

Ph.D. student Gary Liu investigates drug delivery frontiers for kidney disease treatment

Graphic: Scanning electron micrograph of murine podocytes enwrapping a glomerular capillary with their foot processes. Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Reviews Nephrology, Vol 9 No 11, copyright 2013.

At the age of five, second-year UW Bioengineering Ph.D. student Gary Liu was diagnosed with a chronic condition called minimal change kidney disease. His experience with the disease inspired him to study bioengineering. “Our ability to treat certain diseases such as mine are limited,” Gary explains. “More research and innovation is needed for an effective cure.”

UW Bioengineering PhD student Gary Liu

UW Bioengineering Ph.D. student Gary Liu

Now, as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in UW Bioengineering Professor Suzie Pun’s lab and collaborator with UW Nephrology chair and clinician Stuart Shankland, Gary investigates novel applications of biomaterials and drug delivery to treat kidney disease. Gary decided to attend UW due to the strong, early support he received for his research vision. His research mentors’ enthusiasm for his project is helping Gary fulfill a personal goal – improving his health – and also help other people suffering from kidney disease. “I can finally begin to address my own disease, for myself and others.”

With bioengineering, Gary takes his health care into his “own hands”

Minimal change kidney disease affects the glomeruli, a network of tiny vessels within the kidneys that filter waste products from blood and produce urine. In normally functioning kidneys, specialized cells within the glomeruli called podocytes interweave together, forming a structure that maintains the filtration function of the kidney. This filtration process keeps essential materials, such as protein within the blood, and passes waste products into urine. The proteins that stay behind continue to circulate in blood, helping keep fluid flowing through the body.

Minimal change kidney disease damages podocytes’ ability to network together, causing the filtration system of the kidney to malfunction. As the kidneys cannot filter urine correctly, protein leaks from the body in urine. Without protein moving it along, fluid starts to over-accumulate within the body, resulting in uncomfortable swelling and weight gain. Because the level of protein in blood is low, the body resorts to using up the protein stored in the muscles, which can result in fatigue and muscle wasting. Patients must to watch their diet and avoid excess sodium and fluid intake to alleviate swelling and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. In rare cases, the disease can progress to advanced kidney disease, damage and failure.

In most cases, minimal change kidney disease is treated successfully and resolves with few lasting complications. However, drugs used to treat the disease and other conditions affecting the kidneys, including steroids and immunosuppressants, can cause serious long-term side effects. Because such drugs lack the ability to target diseased tissue and instead act broadly on the body, their use can result in increased risk of infections, osteoporosis, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetes. Their use can lead to other, more serious side effects including kidney toxicity, obesity and growth retardation.

Gary’s doctors told him that he too would recover quickly. They often said, “You’ll get over this when you grow older,” he explains. “This is a disease that is supposed to resolve itself.” However, this wasn’t the case for Gary. When he entered high school, he still had the disease. At that point, he decided to take a proactive approach to improving his own health. “I started taking more initiative for taking my own health care into my own hands.” To Gary, studying bioengineering was the perfect way to achieve this goal.

As an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Gary explored the possibilities of drug delivery for treating kidney disease. “I thought that was really attractive, especially for kidney disease. We can target drugs to diseased tissues specifically; we can mitigate a lot of the side effects and improve the efficacy,” he explains. “Those were advantages that I saw that could really impact the nephrology field.”

At UW Bioengineering, Gary finds low barriers to clinical collaboration

Gary decided to attend graduate school to continue developing drug delivery strategies for treating kidney disease. To him, UW Bioengineering stood apart from other graduate programs due to its strong drug delivery research. “My undergraduate adviser had suggested UW based on my interest in drug delivery,” he says.

In 2012, Gary visited BioE’s booth at the BMES Annual Meeting in Atlanta to learn more about the department and UW. After talking to BioE’s graduate students, he was impressed with the department’s low barriers to collaboration with partners in UW’s College of Engineering and School of Medicine. He also liked the how close BioE is to UW’s medical school – UT Austin did not have its own medical school, which made clinical collaborations difficult. At UW, he explains, “I thought it was really cool that the med school was right across the street.”

When Gary applied to UW Bioengineering’s Ph.D. program, he was struck by the early strong support he received for his research proposal. In his application, he wrote about how his personal experience with kidney disease motivated him to pursue drug delivery research. He was surprised when Dr. Pun, a noted innovator in the field of drug delivery, contacted him to express her enthusiasm for his project. When Gary interviewed at UW, Dr. Pun offered to introduce him to Dr. Shankland, the UW nephrology chair and clinician, to discuss a potential research collaboration.

Gary received offers from several other graduate schools but ultimately decided on UW primarily because of Dr. Pun’s eager response to his research proposal. Gary was also impressed by the ease with which Dr. Pun was able to connect him with Dr. Shankland. “I thought that was really humbling, and really indicative of how UW treats students more like colleagues than students,” he says. “I thought that was really outstanding.”

When he arrived at UW, he found that Dr. Pun’s early initiative enabled him to start his project right away. “I’m still very awed by how quickly the collaboration came together,” Gary explains.

Future directions: “I think we can really change how kidney disease is managed”

Before Gary came to UW, Dr. Pun’s lab focused primarily on drug delivery for cancer and neurological disease. However, he found that the Pun lab’s expertise in developing biomaterials, as well as UW nephrology’s knowledge of disease biology, clinical needs and patient experiences, suited his research direction well. “The greatest benefit is that we have a lot of complementary knowledge that the other field may not necessarily have,” he says. “By talking to each other, by discussing what cells are the most attractive to deliver drugs to, we can formulate a strategy to design a material that can overcome the obstacles of delivery and get to the targeted cell.”

Gary is currently developing materials for kidney-targeted drug delivery by using peptide screening and polymer synthesis techniques that he has learned in the Pun lab, combined with kidney biology and mouse models from the Shankland lab. In the near future, he hopes to identify a peptide that can target and bind to podocytes, enabling direct drug delivery. “We believe that by directly delivering drugs to podocytes, we can deliver drugs directly to the site of disease and avoid a lot of side effects,” he says.

After completing his Ph.D., Gary plans to become a professor and define new directions for kidney disease treatment. He envisions starting a research program dedicated to translating bioengineering tools and technologies to clinical applications for treating kidney disease. “We know a lot about what causes kidney disease, but there hasn’t been a lot of translation of that knowledge in the engineering realm,” he says. “If we can take the technologies and platforms we develop in bioengineering and apply them to tackling kidney disease, then I think we can really change how kidney disease is managed.”

By |February 3rd, 2015|Core Faculty, News, Research, Students, Suzie Pun|Comments Off on Ph.D. student Gary Liu investigates drug delivery frontiers for kidney disease treatment
  • Research Assistant Professor Anthony Convertine

Anthony Convertine named Author of the Month by Royal Society of Chemistry

UW Bioengineering Research Assistant Professor Anthony Convertine was named Author of the Month by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Polymer Chemistry Blog. He was recognized for his recently published paper “Well-defined single polymer nanoparticles for the antibody-targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic agents”, which demonstrates the possibilities of a new class of drug delivery system that combines the high drug loading capacity and well defined structure of polymer-drug conjugates with the long circulation times of nanoparticle-based systems.

Dr. Convertine’s research focuses on developing powerful new delivery technologies that will enable the realization of therapies based on intracellularly active biologic drugs. With his work, he aims to revolutionize the treatment of serious diseases such as antibiotic resistant bacterial infection and cancer while minimizing harmful side effects.

In an interview on the RSC Polymer Chemistry blog, Dr. Convertine, whose academic background is in polymer science and engineering, talks about his latest work, inspiration to become a chemist and what he likes to do in his free time — did you know that this bioengineer is also an aspiring surfer?

Read RSC’s interview with Dr. Convertine


By |February 13th, 2015|Anthony Convertine, Core Faculty, News, Research|Comments Off on Anthony Convertine named Author of the Month by Royal Society of Chemistry
  • WH Foege Building sign

Biomaterials Day 2015 – Biomaterials in Translation: From Academia to Industry

 UW Bioengineering invites faculty, students and staff to register for Biomaterials Day 2015: Biomaterials in Translation: From Academia to Industry

Monday, March 2nd 2015

Foege N130, University of Washington

9AM – 6PM

Featuring talks from leading professors and physicians from the Pacific Northwest region on applications and research in biomaterials, as well as a panel discussion on biomaterials in industry. A student poster session will also be held to highlight student research with prizes for the best posters. Abstracts for the student poster session can be submitted online before 5:00PM, February 25, 2014.

Register online by February 20, 2015 for free lunch and reception!


Keynote Speaker: David J. Mooney, Professor of Bioengineering, Harvard University, “Biomaterial-based therapeutic cancer vaccines”



By |February 13th, 2015|Events, News, Research|Comments Off on Biomaterials Day 2015 – Biomaterials in Translation: From Academia to Industry
  • UW Bioengineering undergraduate student and peer advisor Lael Wentland

UW Bioengineering welcomes new undergraduate peer advisor Lael Wentland

UW Bioengineering welcomes current B.S. Bioengineering student Lael Wentland into her new role as undergraduate peer advisor.

Lael, a junior, joins Rachel Lucero, a senior, to form the departments’ peer advising team. Rachel became a peer advisor for the department in 2013. Read more about Rachel.

The role of the peer advisors is to help prospective students gain an inside perspective on the UW Bioengineering undergraduate student experience. Peer advisors can answer questions about applying, course scheduling, curriculum, and life as a student in the department.

Lael is currently researching in Associate Professor Wendy Thomas’s lab. She is researching the development of switchable recognition proteins as a novel alternative to antibodies. She is also passionate about global health; she is pursuing the global health minor in addition to the BioE major. She also serves the leadership team of Bioengineers without Borders. Outside of school she is part of the Seattle Irish Dance Company, loves hiking and goes skiing any chance she can get.

Both peer advisors look forward to working with and helping new students discover UW Bioengineering in the coming year. Contact the peer advisors via our online contact form.

By |January 28th, 2015|News, Research, Students|Comments Off on UW Bioengineering welcomes new undergraduate peer advisor Lael Wentland
  • Suzie Pun, Professor of Bioengineering

Suzie Pun and Valerie Daggett elected AIMBE Fellows

UW Bioengineering Professors Suzie Pun and Valerie Daggett have been elected as AIMBE Fellows.

Suzie Pun, the Robert F. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering, focuses on developing bioinspired materials to advance drug delivery and molecular imaging technologies. Recently awarded the 2014 Controlled Release Young Investigator Award and inaugural Biomaterials Science Lectureship, Dr. Pun holds the endowed Robert F. Rushmer Professorship in recognition of her extraordinary service to UW Bioengineering. Read more about Suzie Pun’s research.

Professor Valerie Daggett is using computational and experimental methods to design diagnostic and therapeutic agents to target amyloid diseases, which include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type II diabetes and others. Her research group has developed a molecular modeling and simulation software package which they have used to simulate the dynamics and activity of essentially all known protein folds, and has accumulated the largest collection of protein simulations and structures in the world. Read more about Valerie Daggett’s research.

AIMBE, or the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering,is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving lives through medical and biological engineering. Drs. Pun and Daggett join 18 other UW Bioengineering AIMBE fellows, as well as a distinguished group of more than 1,000 other fellows from academia, industry and government who have made significant contributions to bioengineering research, industrial practice and education.

This year’s fellows will be recognized at AIMBE’s Annual Event, to be held March 15-17, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia.


By |January 26th, 2015|Awards, Core Faculty, News, Research, Suzie Pun, Valerie Daggett|Comments Off on Suzie Pun and Valerie Daggett elected AIMBE Fellows