Jane Grande-Allen, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering (BIOE) and director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) at Rice University, will become chair of the bioengineering department on July 1.
Grande-Allen will succeed Michael W. Deem, the John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering, who has served as department chair since 2014.
“My plan is to continue building on our strengths in research, and to promote collaboration between the faculty inside and outside the department. It’s an exciting time to be planning for the future of bioengineering research, especially with the Vision for the Second Century development campaign. At the same time, I’m closely following the news about potential major cuts in federal funding for research,” she said.
Grande-Allen earned her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Washington in 1998, and for two years was a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical engineering with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She remained on the staff at the clinic until 2003, when she joined the Rice faculty.
Her research has focused on understanding and combatting heart-valve disease. She works to understand why structural defects develop in heart valves and how to develop alternatives to conventional open-heart surgery to repair or replace diseased valves. Among the alternatives are drug therapies and engineered heart valves for patients of various age groups.
Grande-Allen has been widely honored both as researcher and teacher. She received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the A.J. Durelli Award from the Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc., the Editorial Excellence Award from the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, and the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.
In 2016 she received a Teaching and Research Excellence Award from the George R. Brown School of Engineering.
In recognition of her efforts as teacher and mentor Grande-Allen has received the Brown Foundation Teaching Award, the Presidential Mentoring Award, the Excellence in Advising Award from the Office of Academic Advising, the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Graduate Student Association, and the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching from the Association of Rice Alumni.
“I’ve always been committed to students and teaching. I’m fortunate to have been involved in several pilot efforts to perform peer evaluation of teaching, through the Center for Teaching Excellence, the school of engineering and BIOE. I plan to expand our use of peer teaching evaluations within BIOE so we can strengthen our teaching and share best practices for innovation. We’ll also be reflecting on our curriculum as we progress towards our upcoming Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology renewal. More broadly, I am highly motivated to improve diversity in the BIOE department,” she said.
Grande-Allen is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; the Biomedical Engineering Society; the American Heart Association’s Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; the Society for Experimental Mechanics; and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She is a member of the executive board of the Society for Experimental Mechanics. She served two terms on the Biomedical Engineering Society's board of directors and is a deputy editor-in-chief for the society's journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering. She has served as an associate editor and member of the editorial board for the journals Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology, Tissue Engineering, BCM Biotechnology, and Experimental Techniques.
At Rice, Grande-Allen was a member of the executive committee of the faculty senate and of the advisory board for the Center for Teaching Excellence. From 2014 to 2016, she served as faculty adviser to the university president.
“Personally, I will continue teaching, although at a reduced level. I hope to maintain my research commitments. What I will definitely shift around are my service commitments. I already dedicate a lot of time to service for the university and Texas Medical Center, so I will have pull back from those. I've also looked into getting one of those Harry Potter time-turners,” Grande-Allen said.