I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Christine Schmidt has accepted an offer to become the Chair of the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Schmidt will fill the position currently held by Interim Chair, Dr. Bruce Wheeler. I would like to take this opportunity to heartily thank Dr. Wheeler for his exceptional service as Interim Chair. I would also like to thank Dr. Rich Dickinson, chair of the search committee, and all of the members of the committee for their successful efforts in recruiting our new chair.
Dr. Schmidt is a highly accomplished faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin where she currently holds the B.F. Goodrich Endowed Chair in Materials Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is one of the founding faculty members of the BME program at UT-Austin, having helped grow the department into one of the five largest biomedical engineering departments in the country. Dr. Schmidt began her career as an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at UT Austin in 1996. She is an alumnus member, having graduated from UT with a Bachelor of Science in ChE with High Honors in 1988. She earned her PhD degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, and later became an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT.
Dr. Schmidt is a highly renowned scholar. She has authored more than 100 journal articles, refereed conference proceedings, and book chapters. She holds ten patents and licenses and currently oversees $2.5 million in external grant funding. She has won numerous awards for her scholarship including the Whitaker Young Investigator Award, and the Chairmen’s Distinguished Life Sciences Award sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and the US Chamber of Commerce, Washington DC. She is a Fellow of both AIMBE and BMES and serves on the editorial boards of Nanomedicine; Acta Biomaterialia; the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research; the Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition; the International Journal of Nanomedicine; and Polymers. She has served as a board member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), programming chair in biomaterials at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and chair of the external advisory panel in neuroengineering for the IGERT Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Schmidt is also noted for her outstanding contributions as a teacher: her most recent recognition includes the 2011 ING Professor of Excellence award while some of her earlier achievements include the Lockheed Martin Engineering Teaching Award which she won both in 1998 and in 2000, the College of Engineering Award for Outstanding Engineering Teaching by an Assistant Professor and the James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising.
Clearly, Dr. Schmidt will bring great leadership, vision and energy to the Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. She will begin her appointment in January 2013. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Schmidt and her family to the Gator Nation!
Cammy R. Abernathy
Dean, College of Engineering
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering