Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen and Professor John White (BME) have been elected Fellows of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), an elite group of the world’s foremost biomedical engineers. They join a group that numbers fewer than 150 fellows worldwide.
Lutchen, a professor of Biomedical Engineering and former BME Department chair, was cited for his groundbreaking work in probing the structure-function relations governing lung disease. Among his notable achievements, Lutchen was recognized for pioneering methods to track airway resistance in humans, shedding new light on how the mechanical forces of breathing are critical contributors to the progression of asthma, emphysema and ventilator-induced lung injury. His patented methods for performing mechanical ventilation were noted, as were his 7,500-plus citations and h-index of 50.
Citing his long history of educational leadership, IAMBE recognized Lutchen as the chief architect and principal investigator on a $14 million Whitaker Foundation Leadership Award and a $5 million Coulter Foundation Award, making Boston University the first to win both. He was the PI on the BME Department’s first-ever T32 Pre-Doctoral Training grant, now in its 23rd year. As BME chair, he also oversaw a dramatic rise in the department’s ranking, from 18th to 6th.
Lutchen is also a leader in professional engagement. He is a past president of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and a recipient of the institute’s highest honor, the Pierre Galletti Award. He is a member of the board of directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society, a past chair of the Council of Chairs of Biomedical Engineering, and has served on advisory boards to many BME departments. He sits on the board of directors of Harvard’s Wyss Institute of Bioinspired Engineering. He has also served on the editorial boards of the IEEE-Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the Journal of Applied Physiology and the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
The IAMBE noted that through these efforts and others, Lutchen has helped increase awareness among the public and government officials that biomedical engineering is aligned with the national interest of advancing our understanding of health and disease while translating technologies that would improve health care while reducing costs.
The Academy also recognized Lutchen’s advancement of the concept of the Societal Engineer as a foundational goal of engineering education and the creation of several interdisciplinary centers during his tenure as dean.
White, chairman of the BME Department, was recognized for his groundbreaking research into how information is processed in the brain.
“Professor White is a world leader in using engineering approaches to answer mechanistic questions in basic and applied neuroscience,” according to his IAMBE nomination. “Professor White has pioneered the study of how biophysical noise sources limit the signal-to-noise characteristics of neurons and neuronal networks.” White’s work, the nomination continued, “led the group to develop RTXI, still the worlds’ most widely used hardware-software system for low-latency, high-rate feedback in neurophysiological experiments.”
White has around 100 peer-reviewed citations that have been cited about 7,000 times. He has raised over $50 million in competitive funding from government funding agencies and private foundations.
Like Lutchen, White has a strong record of professional leadership. For the Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting, White has chaired the annual meeting, and served as National Meetings Committee chair, secretary, treasurer, Executive Committee member, member of the Fellows Selection Committee, and member of the Development Committee.