By Michael G Seele
Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen has received the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s (AIMBE) highest honor, the Pierre Galletti Award, in recognition of his contributions to the public awareness of medical and biological engineering, and to the promotion of the national interest in science, engineering and education.
AIMBE selected Lutchen based on his “seminal contributions to quantitative understanding and treatment of respiratory disease, providing a role model for national growth of the biomedical engineering discipline, mentoring a generation of students, elevating the stature and visibility of AIMBE with key federal agencies and lawmakers, and promoting public awareness of the field through a national engineering school and professional society leadership,” according to the award citation. He received the award and presented a lecture at AIMBE’s annual meeting on March 23 in Washington, DC.
“This award from my peers is a great personal honor,” Lutchen said. “But I hope that it can also serve to raise awareness among policymakers and future engineers about the importance of biomedical engineering in our healthcare and our economy.”
Lutchen is one of the world’s leading biomedical engineers in the field of pulmonary physiology. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and has advanced novel experimental, imaging, and computational-based methods for probing the structure-function relations governing lung disease. His papers have been cited more than 5,000 times.
While the Awards Committee noted his research, it also recognized his extraordinary contributions to teaching and education. Prior to being appointed dean, Lutchen served as chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department, where he provided the leadership to advance the department’s ranking in US News and World Report from 18th to sixth and was the chief architect of a $14 million Leadership Award from the Whitaker Foundation and a $5 million Translational Research Partnership Award from the Coulter Foundation. The committee also noted the Distinguished Fellowship Program bearing his name that annually awards $100,000 to 10 undergraduate engineer students to fund summer research projects.
AIMBE represents approximately 50,000 individuals, of which only two percent are admitted to the organization as fellows. In addition to being a fellow, Lutchen is a past AIMBE president and has served as secretary/treasurer, and chair of the Academic Council. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society, of which he is a founding fellow. He also has served on scientific advisory boards, review panels and study sections for the Whitaker Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and several bioengineering departments and engineering colleges nationwide.