Class of 2018: B.S. in BME graduates outside Weill Hall on May 26, 2018

2018 BME Newsletter


Welcome to our 2018 biomedical engineering newsletter. We are happy to share our news from the 2017-18 academic year with you, starting with our cover story.

May 2018 marked the graduation of the first B.S. degree recipients in BME! We had been looking forward to this milestone since the biomedical engineering major first was approved by NY State in June 2015. We have enjoyed getting to know this wonderful group of 19 students. As you will see from their profiles, their next steps include a lot of further study scattered around the country. I can’t wait to hear about future successes from this special first class of graduates!

Overall the undergraduate major continues to grow, and I expect we’re not at steady state yet. The College has reached a major milestone with gender parity, and BME continues to be exceptional with 80% female enrollment.

On the other end of the career spectrum, we are sad to have Mike Shuler retire but very grateful for his prolonged leadership and vision. Mike established and led biomedical engineering for the more than two decades that I have been at Cornell. Mike has been synonymous with Cornell BME and will be missed. We celebrated his career and enjoyed catching up with alumni from different eras in June).

A year ago we lost Pete Meinig, who, along with his wife Nancy and their daughters, endowed our School. We are thankful for Pete’s long service to his alma mater and honored to bear his name.

Our faculty continues to grow. Both McAdam Professors are fully moved and settled on campus. Yadong Wang arrived more than a year ago, and his laboratory is up and running in the newly renovated Kimball Hall. Jim Antaki joined us in January, and became fully resident in Weill Hall this summer. We are thrilled to have Yadong and Jim join us and look forward to the strengths they add in cardiac, biomaterials and device research. Jim will also bring ideas and energy to our senior design course. Our junior search yielded two fantastic new colleagues who will join us in the future: Esak (Isaac) Lee, currently at the Wyss Institute at Harvard, and Nate Cira, currently at the Rowland Institute, also at Harvard.

Our students and faculty continue to do well and be recognized for their contributions. Larry Bonassar received an endowed chair, a recognition of his research program. Dave Putnam and Jonathan Butcher were promoted to Professor this year. Our junior faculty received several national awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (Ilana Brito & Iwijn De Vlaminck), NIH Trailblazer Award (Steve Adie), NSF Career (Steve Adie & Mert Sabuncu), Packard Foundation Fellowship (Brito) and Pew Scholar (Brito). Iwijn De Vlaminck, Dave Putnam and Ankur Singh were recognized by the College for their outstanding teaching contributions.

Our Ph.D. program continues to attract excellent students. Eight Ph.D. students received NSF fellowships this year, as did one of our graduating seniors. The list of awards received by our students is impressive.

We organized our first career “trek” in Boston last year for students to engage with potential employers. We plan to continue and expand these offerings, particularly given the growth of the undergraduate major and continued healthy Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program.

Space has been an ongoing challenge over my four years but even predates me. After some starts and stops, the good news is that our overall plan remains more or less the same from last year. Our teaching space will be co-located with the freshman biology teaching labs in Comstock Hall. The plans have been scaled down somewhat and are more focused now, which will we hope allow faster progress. We added a design studio and maker space in the basement of Weill Hall to tide us over until the Comstock plan is completed. Between the Master of Engineering projects and senior design course, the space is vibrant and well used.

Finally, one of the best aspects of being director is meeting alumni. I enjoyed gatherings in Boston, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Austin and Dublin this past year. We hope to host BME alumni again in the Bay area in January and look forward to seeing many of you at the annual Cornell Engineering reception in San Francisco. Thank you for your engagement and support!


Marjolein C.H. van der Meulen
James M. and Marsha McCormick Director of Biomedical Engineering
Swanson Professor of Biomedical Engineering