Building on 16 Years of Momentum
VCU School of Engineering
As the new dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering, Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., comes well-prepared to strategically build on the success and growth the school has seen since welcoming its first class in 1996. An eminent scholar, endowed chair and entrepreneur who holds 14 U.S. patents, Boyan plans to recruit 49 new faculty members, doubling the size of the VCU School of Engineering, in the next five years.
“The opportunity to help VCU meet the challenges that engineering education will face over the next decade was irresistible to my entrepreneurial spirit,” she said of her decision to come to VCU from Georgia Tech, where she most recently served as associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering. “There is a great momentum at VCU, and I am very excited about the enthusiasm I see in our students and the collaborative atmosphere that permeates the campus.”
As a researcher, Boyan is renowned for her uncanny ability to envision the future of engineering. She is also a successful entrepreneur, having founded Osteobiologics Inc., an orthopedic device company, and SpherIngenics Inc., a stem cell delivery company. She is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering and sits on the boards of a number of biomedical companies, including Arthrocare Corp. and Carticept Medical Inc.
“Bringing someone of Dr. Boyan’s national stature, particularly given her standing in the National Academy of Engineering, signals VCU’s commitment to engineering and its move toward becoming one of the nation’s great research universities,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “It also signals VCU’s continued presence in a competitive economic landscape.”
Boyan looks forward to the collaborative climate at VCU, she said.
“Few people know this about me, but I have a minor in the history of art. Science can’t be divorced from art. As engineers, we are really artists in our own field,” she said. "I don’t know of any other school that has the science, the business, the design, and the art foundations such as ours that allow us to think outside the box. As a collaborative interdisciplinary team, we’ll go forward with this as our core into the 21st century.”
Boyan is a fellow of the World Congress of Biomaterials, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. At Georgia Tech, she held an endowed chair in tissue engineering. She was a professor in the departments of biomedical engineering at both Georgia Tech and Emory University. She also was a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in tissue engineering.
Boyan served as professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she also served as director of Industry University Cooperative Research Center and director of the Center for the Enhancement of the Biology/Biomaterials Interface. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in biology from Rice University.
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