News Release

Bioengineers inducted into prestigious institution

San Diego, Calif., Jan. 28, 2016 -- Three bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego, will be inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the organization announced. Professors Karen Christman, Gabriel Silva and Shyni Varghese will be recognized during a ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences Great Hall in Washington, DC, on April 4.

The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country, including the most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators and successful entrepreneurs.

AIMBE Fellows are recognized for their contributions in teaching, research and innovation. Fellows have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Technology and Innovation and many also are members of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

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Christman is being recognized for outstanding contributions in the development and application of injectable biomaterials for treating cardiovascular diseases. The Christman Lab focuses on developing innovative biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. The lab has a strong translational focus with the main goal of developing minimally invasive therapies for cardiovascular disease.  Projects are highly interdisciplinary and involve collaborations with basic scientists, engineers and physicians.

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Silva is being recognized for outstanding contributions to understanding and reverse-engineering of cellular neural network signaling in the brain and retina. His research interests focus on neuroscience and neural computing and engineering. His work integrates advanced mathematics with experimental neurobiology. He studies the neurobiology of neural signaling at the cellular and cellular network scales to learn more about the mechanisms that underlie neural computation and information processing in the brain.

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Varghese is being recognized for her pioneering contributions to the field of bio-inspired materials, stem cells and regenerative medicine. Her work focuses on the interface of biomaterials and stem cells. Her research involves the development and application of biomaterials and engineering tools to understand the role of cell-microenvironment interactions on stem cell differentiation and disease progression. Specifically, her laboratory focuses on elucidating the role of physico-chemical cues of the extra-cellular matrix (or EMC) on stem cell commitment and tissue regeneration, investigating how pathological changes of the ECM lead to disease progression; and developing material- and cell-based technologies for regenerative medicine and other biomedical applications to advance health care.

Kang Zhang, a professor of ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Institute here at UC San Diego, and faculty researcher in the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine, will also be inducted in this year’s class of 160 Fellows. He is being recognized for outstanding contributions in basic research and clinical applications to advancing genomics, stem cell, tissue engineering, and drug delivery


AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence in, and advocate for, the fields of medical and biological engineering in order to advance society. Since 1991, AIMBE‘s College of Fellows has lead the way for technological growth and advancement in the fields of medical and biological engineering. Fellows have helped revolutionize medicine and related fields in order to enhance and extend the lives of people all over the world. They have also successfully advocated public policies that have enabled researchers and business-makers to further the interests of engineers, teachers, scientists, clinical practitioners, and ultimately, patients. 

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering