Appointments Target Excellence in Research and Education
By Mark Dwortzan
Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen has announced the appointments of several individuals to round out the College’s leadership team, including an associate dean and two department chairs.
Catherine Klapperich (BME, ME, MSE) is the new associate dean for Research and Technology Development. John A. White (BME, MED) has been recruited from the University of Utah to Boston University to serve as chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department, effective May 1, succeeding Solomon Eisenberg (BME), who remains senior associate dean for Academic Programs. W. Clem Karl (ECE, BME, SE) is the new chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department effective January.
“All of these faculty members are world-renowned researchers in their respective disciplines, leaders in their respective professional communities, and outstanding educators,” Lutchen said. “They will provide extraordinary and visionary leadership in their respective areas as the College embarks on its continuous commitment to growth in excellence. Moreover, they bring a natural and critical ability to apply both a local and institutional perspective to their approach as leaders which will further insure success as we guide the College forward.”
Catherine Klapperich, Associate Dean for Research and Technology Development
Klapperich, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Future Technologies in Cancer Care at BU, develops robust, inexpensive, handheld, microfluidic plastic chips and devices that extract nucleic acids from complex human samples—technologies that could enable rapid, point-of-care diagnostics for infectious diseases and cancer without the need for electricity or refrigeration. These minimally instrumented systems could be a major step forward in facilitating the use of molecular diagnostics in developing countries. Klapperich is also working on the design and deployment of devices to more efficiently apply systems biology techniques to improve understanding of TB and other complex diseases.
Klapperich is the inaugural holder of the Dorf-Ebner Distinguished Faculty Fellow award, which honors a mid-career College of Engineering faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional performance and impact in research, teaching and service to the College. A recently elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Klapperich is the director of a $10 Million NIH Center for Future Technologies in Cancer Care. She also directs the Laboratory for Diagnostics and Global Healthcare Technologies and is a member of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Klapperich was formally the associate chair for graduate programs in BME. Klapperich serves on the editorial board of Biomedical Microdevices and is an active participant in both national and international research conferences. In 2010, she was an invited participant in the National Academies of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering conference. A member of the College of Engineering faculty since 2003, she earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley.
Klapperich is also a widely sought-after educator and mentor who has created and taught in some of the most popular design and manufacture courses at the College. She recently took over the BME Senior Project course with resounding success.
John White, BME Department Chair
White was a BME faculty member for 13 years before he joined the University of Utah in 2007 as a professor of bioengineering. During his tenure at the College of Engineering, he served as BME chairman ad interim and as associate chair for undergraduate and graduate studies, and received the ENG Faculty Service Award in 2002.
At the University of Utah, White was a prestigious USTAR professor and was the executive director of the Institute for Brain Research, an interdisciplinary institute that spanned the medical school, life sciences, and the school of engineering. White has used engineering approaches to better understand how information is processed in the brain. Combining computational modeling, electrophysiological and optical techniques, and imaging methods, he has worked to advance new biomedical devices to treat memory disorders and epilepsy.
Supported by more than $50 million in funding from the NIH, National Science Foundation and other sources, White has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering and of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and has served as meeting chair for the Biomedical Engineering Society Fall Meeting in 2014 and Visiting Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle and at research institutions in Germany. He is also the co-founder of the startup Utah Dynamics. White received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1990.
W. Clem Karl, ECE Department Chair
A world-renowned researcher in the field of information science and systems, and past recipient of the ECE Award for Excellence in Teaching, Karl is a member of the Information and Data Sciences research group and the Center for Information and Systems Engineering (CISE). He has served on the BU faculty since 1995.
Karl’s research centers on statistical signal processing and image reconstruction. He has developed several statistical models for the efficient extraction of information from diverse data sources in the presence of uncertainty, and applied them in projects that include automatic target detection and recognition for synthetic aperture radar; locating oil deposits and analyzing the earth’s atmosphere; and monitoring medical conditions using tomography and MRI. He has published six books/book chapters, 68 journal articles and 183 reviewed conference proceedings, and his publications have been cited nearly 5000 times.
Karl has assumed several leadership roles for the IEEE, where he is a Fellow, the inaugural editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging and the former editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1991 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a staff research scientist at the Brown-Harvard-MIT Center for Intelligent Control Systems and the MIT Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems.
These appointments join the College’s relatively new senior leaders Professor Alice White, chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Professor David Bishop, head of the Materials Science & Engineering Division. Other members of the ENG academic leadership team include Eisenberg; Professor Thomas D.C. Little (ECE, SE), associate dean for Educational Initiatives; Gretchen Fougere, associate dean for Outreach and Diversity; Richard Lally, associate dean for Administration; and Professor Christos Cassandras (ECE, SE), head of the Systems Engineering Division.