Medical imaging expert Norbert Pelc named new chair of bioengineering

Norbert Pelc

The Department of Bioengineering has a new chair in Norbert Pelc, ScD, an expert in biomedical imaging. He will assume his new responsibilities on July 1.

Formed in 2003, the department is a fusion of the School of Engineering and School of Medicine that brings together engineering and life science research to promote scientific discovery and the development of new technologies and therapies in human health and environmental sustainability.

In announcing Pelc as chair, Dean Jim Plummer, PhD, of engineering, and Dean Philip Pizzo, MD, of medicine, praised the leadership of outgoing chair Russ Altman, MD, PhD, whom they said deserved much credit for the department’s rise, before acknowledging Pelc’s reputation and leadership.

“Norbert Pelc has been an instrumental member of bioengineering from inception and is a valued researcher, mentor and leader. He has a superb external reputation and he brings real enthusiasm and a sense of excitement about the future of bioengineering to this position,” said the deans in a joint statement.

Pelc, who is professor of bioengineering and of radiology, joined the radiology faculty over two decades ago. Before that, he was a senior physicist and manager in the Applied Science Laboratory at GE Medical Systems. “His contributions have intersected numerous fields and disciplines, as was highlighted in his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2011 — one of the highest honors in the field of engineering,” said Plummer.

Borne by the research of its faculty, the bioengineering department has risen to national prominence, and it now stands at the cusp of new opportunities with a burgeoning undergraduate program to complement its graduate program. It is slated to move into a state-of-the-art building in 2014.

“I’m very excited by this opportunity, and look forward to working closely with all the bioengineering faculty and staff to continue and even accelerate our positive momentum, and to create the best bioengineering department in the world,” said Pelc.

“Norbert’s major focus as chair will be to help lead the department through its next critical phase of growth and maturation — a task he is uniquely qualified for,” said Pizzo. “The future years will be an exciting time for bioengineering, and Norbert will help faculty and students create unique new fields of endeavor and collaboration.”


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