Three scholars studying nanomaterials, medical robotics, and neurological plasticity are joining the faculty of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University this fall.
Coulter BME also is adding a professional-track faculty member to teach and develop curricula about cell and molecular systems.
Meet our newest faculty:
Leslie Chan joins the Department as an assistant professor in a bit of a homecoming: Chan earned her bachelor’s degree in Coulter BME before pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Washington and a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work focuses on developing nanomaterials to sense and respond to biochemical cues in diseased tissues. The goal is to create tools to study, detect, and treat diseases caused by invading microbes.
“As an alumna of the undergraduate program in Coulter BME, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return and join the Department as a faculty member. My experiences in the Department were extremely positive, and [the fact] that other researchers and staff have chosen to stay and grow their careers here speaks to the success of the Department at creating a supportive and enabling environment for education and research.”
Yue Chen arrives in Atlanta from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he completed his Ph.D. Chen studies robotics, working to design new kinds of medical robots, robot sensing techniques, control algorithms, and medical image guidance.
“I seek to directly improve the end user's experience, in turn improving treatment outcomes for patients across the world. Medical robotics is a rapidly growing field that allows me to work closely with surgeons and witness how my designs directly improve people’s lives in the operating room and activities of daily life.”
Laura Christian is joining the engineering education team in Coulter BME. She’ll be teaching and developing curricula related to the physiology of cell and molecular systems. Christian’s appointment as a lecturer in the Department marks another return to Georgia Tech: she earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Tech before pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin and a postdoctoral appointment at West Virginia University.
“I know firsthand that Georgia Tech is a great school. Teaching courses in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering will allow me to train and work with some of the best problem-solvers in the country. I am looking forward to bringing a biologist's perspective to biomedical engineering problems.”
Ming-fai Fong joins the list of homecomings this year. She earned her doctorate in neuroscience at Emory before completing postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on capitalizing on the nervous system’s ability to change to support rehabilitation from neurological disease. She’s interested in visual disability resulting from neuro-developmental issues, and in particular, amblyopia, a loss of sharpness of vision that disproportionately impacts communities with poor access to medical services.
“My interests pivoted toward neural rehabilitation after an experience I had designing custom wheelchairs in northwestern Mexico. During my graduate training, I studied synaptic plasticity and came to appreciate how plasticity might be leveraged for rehabilitation,” Fong said. “Research on using synaptic plasticity to promote recovery from amblyopia is compelling from both a scientific and humanitarian perspective.”
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