Celebrating biomedical engineering at SEAS

BME Department Launch
January 29, 2015

It’s been a big year for biomedical engineering at SEAS: the school launched the new department in the fall semester; received a $1 million gift from SEAS alumnus and GW Trustee Terry Collins and his wife Alisann to endow a professorship in the department; recruited its founding chair, Dr. Igor Efimov; and moved into its home in the new Science and Engineering Hall.  That is cause for celebration—and that’s exactly what SEAS and GW did at the department’s official opening on January 28th.

Read the GW Today article, “GW Celebrates the Future of Biomedical Engineering



Watch a video of the panel discussion: “The Future of Biomedical Engineering


Learn more about the panelists:

Dr. Igor Efimov joined the George Washington University on January 1, 2015, as founding chair of its Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Alisann and Terry Collins Professor of Biomedical Engineering. He came to GW from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and the director of the Cardiac Imaging Laboratory, a National Institutes of Health-funded cardiovascular research and engineering laboratory that studies the physiological and biophysical mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and develops novel therapies for heart diseases. Dr. Efimov also is a co-founder of Cardialen, Inc., which develops pain-free, low energy cardioversion therapy, with a primary focus on atrial fibrillation.

Prior to joining the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis in 2004, Dr. Efimov served on the faculty of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (1994-2000) and Case Western Reserve University (2000-2004). He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1992, and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh (1992-1994).

Dr. Efimov is a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society and American Heart Association. He is currently an associate editor of both the American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology and the IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering. He has served on editorial boards of Circulation Research, Heart Rhythm Journal, Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, and other premier cardiovascular and biomedical engineering professional journals. He also has served on expert panels of the World Bank, Canadian Academies, British Heart Foundation, Russian Ministry of Science and Education, The Royal Society of New Zealand, Swiss National Science Foundation, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and other international funds and organizations.

Dr. Morton Friedman is a research professor in the George Washington University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He joined GW in 2010 as special assistant to the dean for biomedical engineering program development. He came to GW from Duke University, where he chaired its Department of Biomedical Engineering and remained until becoming emeritus. Prior to that, he was chief scientist of biomedical programs at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and directed the Biomedical Engineering Center at The Ohio State University. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemical engineering in 1961 from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Friedman’s research has focused on biomechanics, most extensively the role of mechanical forces in the localization and evolution of vascular disease, and he has been an active participant in the development of biomedical engineering as a discipline and as a profession. As president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), he initiated the process that led to its first annual meeting. He was a member of the organizing committee of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), where he led the formation of its Academic Council and served as vice president. He is a recipient of the Lissner Medal and Richard Skalak Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, of which he is a Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Heart Association, an elected Member of the World Council of Biomechanics, a Founding Fellow of AIMBE, and an Inaugural Fellow of BMES.

Dr. Peter Katona joined George Mason University in 2006 as a professor of electrical and computer engineering. He was instrumental in enabling the university to establish its Department of Bioengineering in 2011, at which time he also became a professor of bioengineering. Since 2014 Dr. Katona has been an affiliate professor with both the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at GMU.

He previously served on the Whitaker Foundation as president and CEO (2000–2006) and as vice president for biomedical engineering (1991–2000). Prior to that, he was program director for biomedical engineering and aiding the disabled at the National Science Foundation (1989–1991). He was a member of the faculty of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (1969-1991), and served as chairman of his department (1980-1988). Dr. Katona received his Doctor of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965.

Dr. Katona is the author of more than 50 scientific papers on the control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. He is also the author of several papers on biomedical engineering as a profession. He served as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (1984-1985), and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the cardiovascular section of the American Physiological Society. He has served on numerous advisory committees of academic, government, and private organizations. Dr. Katona is the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (2005), and the Pierre Galletti Award from AIMBE (2006).

Dr. Matthew Kay is an associate professor in the George Washington University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and he holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. He earned his Doctor of Science in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. After completing post-doctoral training and serving as a research assistant professor at the University of Alabama, Dr. Kay joined the George Washington University in 2006.

His training is in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in cardiac physiology and electrophysiology, and his research focuses on using optical imaging to understand the pathological mechanisms of acute and chronic cardiac ischemia. A primary goal of his research is to improve reperfusion therapy to minimize the level of damage caused by a coronary occlusion or sudden cardiac arrest. Dr. Kay’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, The Whitaker Foundation, the American Heart Association, and industry. He is a chief scientific advisor for LuxCath, LLC, a company focused on commercializing fluorescence imaging technologies that he and his collaborators developed. He received the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Young Researcher Award in 2011.

Dr. Joel Myklebust, P.E. is currently the deputy director of the Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL) in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the Food and Drug Administration.  OSEL, as an intramural laboratory, is responsible for providing the scientific basis for regulatory decisions regarding medical devices ranging from wheelchairs and prosthetics to cardiovascular, orthopedic, and neurological implants. 

Before joining the FDA, Dr. Myklebust held management positions at the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research with responsibility for programs in spinal cord injury and rehabilitation engineering.  Prior to that, he had a 25-year career in biomedical engineering research and education at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Dr. Myklebust earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University in 1981.