myocardial bioenergetics, biomaterial and stem cells for cardiac repair, has been named the chair of the UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering.Jianyi “Jay” Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., a national leader in
Zhang will come to UAB from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he’s the Engdahl Family Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Regenerative Therapies and professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering. He was chosen to lead the BME Department—a joint department between the Schools of Engineering and Medicine—after a national search.
“With a strong background in both engineering and medicine, Dr. Zhang is the ideal person to lead the Department of Biomedical Engineering into this new era of collaboration,” says Iwan Alexander, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering. “We are very excited about the potential he brings to open new avenues for research for our engineering faculty and students, as well as for his vision to continue to grow the department as a world-class center for BME education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”
Zhang will succeed longtime department chair Timothy M. Wick, Ph.D., who stepped down last year to accept a role as Senior Associate Dean in the School of Engineering. He will officially join UAB on Oct. 1, 2015.
“I am very excited for this bold opportunity at UAB,” Zhang said. “The University is innovative in its establishment of the department as a joint venture between the Schools of Medicine and Engineering. Pairing a top academic medical center and a successful School of Engineering creates the potential for impactful discovery, both for the field of biomedical engineering and in population health to benefit Alabama and its citizens.”
Established in 1979, the Department of Biomedical Engineering became a joint department between the Schools of Medicine and Engineering in February 2014 to capitalize on the strengths of UAB faculty in research, education and patient care. The Department has 13 full-time faculty, 44 graduate students and 156 undergraduate students. To date its faculty has graduated 138 bachelor’s degrees, 278 master’s degrees and 86 doctoral degrees.
Zhang’s research is leading the field in myocardial energetics in hearts with postinfarction left-ventricle remodeling and congestive heart failure, biomaterials, and stem cells for cardiac repair.
Examining phosphorus in mass spectroscopy to see in vivo production and transportation in the heart in regulation of this process is
“Biomedical engineering is a critical piece to finding new solutions to challenges in population health and health care,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “Dr. Zhang’s capable leadership will allow for growth and partnership will allow UAB to make significant advances in medical research and patient care through cross-cutting research.”
Both schools have committed significant resources to help ensure Zhang’s success in recruiting key faculty, achieving high-impact research goals and expanding the department’s education mission.
Born in China, Zhang earned his M.D. from Shanghai Medical University in 1983 and his doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1992. He also earned a master of science in engineering in 1987 and a certificate of business administration in 1987 from Tufts University. Prior to joining the faculty at Minnesota, Zhang completed postdoctoral work in the university’s cardiovascular division.
Zhang and his wife Amy Wang have three adult children: John, 29; Eric, 24; and Sophia, 19.