Peppas to Step Down as Head of UT Austin Biomedical Engineering

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Renowned biomedical and chemical engineer Nicholas Peppas is stepping down as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Peppas, who has led the department for six years, has guided BME through a period of significant expansion and progress, including hiring 10 new faculty members. Under his leadership, the department has been named one of the nation’s five largest departments of its kind, one of the most productive in terms of research publications and second in the nation in terms of research citations.

Peppas at desk

After officially stepping down on Aug. 31, 2015, Peppas will serve as director of the new Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine. The institute brings together Texas Engineering’s leading researchers in chemical and biomedical engineering who are investigating new ways to improve the body’s systems, repair failing organs and administer drugs and vaccines.

Peppas also will serve as the Cockrell School’s liaison with Dell Medical School. In this role, he will oversee collaboration efforts with medical school leadership to find opportunities for strategic and long-term curricular and research partnerships.

“Over the past six years, Nicholas has demonstrated visionary leadership, unwavering support of his students and fellow faculty members, and a steadfast pursuit of excellence in our Department of Biomedical Engineering,” said Cockrell School Dean Sharon L. Wood. “I am thrilled that he will continue to serve as a leader and distinguished professor in the Cockrell School.”

Peppas joined the UT Austin faculty in December 2002, was appointed BME department chair in August 2009 and has made extraordinary contributions to both the advancement of the department and his field. Through his teaching, research and accolades, Peppas has brought global prestige to the university and the Cockrell School. He has six honorary doctorates, 43 U.S. patents pending or issued, three companies founded and more than 1,350 papers published.

The recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including, most recently, induction into the Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom) and the National Academy of Inventors, Peppas also is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, French Academy of Pharmacy, Royal Academy of Spain, Academy of Athens, and The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas. Last month, the Controlled Release Society recognized Peppas for his lifetime contributions to delivery science.

Peppas is a professor in BME, the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and the UT Austin College of Pharmacy. He holds the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #6.

Cockrell School professor Andrew Dunn has been named interim chair of the department and will assume the role on Sept. 1, 2015.

Dunn, who on Sept. 1 will hold the Donald J. Douglass Centennial Professorship in Engineering and who is currently the director of UT Austin’s Center for Emerging Imaging Technologies, is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. A consummate teacher and educator, Dunn received the 2013 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest honor given to professors by The University of Texas System. He has also received early career awards from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Whitaker Foundation.