Georgia Tech and Emory University Name New Biomedical Engineering Chair

The Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have selected Larry V. McIntire, a prominent biotechnology expert based in Houston, to chair their joint department of biomedical engineering. He will begin as chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University in July, pending approval from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

McIntire, who has built a distinguished career in the health and engineering fields, is currently the chair of Rice University's Department of Bioengineering, as well as Rice's Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering. He holds the E.D. Butcher Professorship of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at Rice.

"I have worked in this field for many years now and Larry McIntire is a noted expert in this area," said Georgia Tech College of Engineering Dean Don Giddens, who chaired the department from 1997 until last year when he assumed his new position. "I have a personal interest in this position and believe I'm passing the torch to an outstanding leader."

McIntire's appointment concludes a national search begun last year to fill the position, which is responsible for overseeing the department's academic and research programs in areas such as biomedical imaging, tissue engineering, cancer technologies, neuroscience, computer-assisted surgery and drug delivery. The department has 23 faculty members and 15 staff members, and offers academic degree programs at all levels.

"It is with a great sense of excitement that I look forward to joining the Georgia Tech/Emory Biomedical Engineering Department and continuing its development into the best in the nation in biomedical engineering research and education," said McIntire, 59.

McIntire joined Rice University in 1970 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering after earning a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Princeton University. After becoming a full professor in 1978, he went on to chair the department from 1981 to 1989 and serve as director of the Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Engineering - one of three major labs that make up the Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering at Rice. In 1991, McIntire was appointed chair of the Institute, which promotes cross-disciplinary research and education among scientists and engineers at Rice and their colleagues at the nearby Texas Medical Center, the Johnson Space Center, private industry, and other institutions.

In 1997, McIntire assumed the chair of the department of bioengineering at Rice and currently holds appointments at the University of Texas Medical School - Houston, Baylor College of Medicine and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

McIntire's research is focused on understanding the interplay between fluid mechanics, convective mass transport, cell biology, and molecular biology in the cardiovascular system.

Georgia Tech and Emory created the joint department of biomedical engineering in the fall of 1997. The collaborative relationship blends the expertise of medical researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine with that of the engineering faculty at Georgia Tech, and is the first of its kind between a public and private institution. The collaboration has resulted in a biomedical engineering program ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

"Dr. McIntire is an outstanding and proven leader in biomedical engineering, with the skills and creative vision necessary to shape and guide the very promising future of our collaborative relationship," said Thomas J. Lawley, M.D., dean of Emory University School of Medicine. "I look forward to working with him as he accepts the challenges and opportunities provided by the merging of engineering and medicine."

The two partner universities maintain a commercial research and development center called EmTech Bio that is primarily responsible for facilitating the transfer of biotech discoveries into marketable products and promoting the development of local biotech companies. Located between the schools on Briarcliff Road in Atlanta, EmTech Bio includes an incubator run by Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

In addition, Georgia Tech and Emory established the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues (GTEC) in 1998 through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Scientists within GTEC combine their expertise in engineering and medicine to develop substitute tissues to replace native tissues damaged by disease or injury.