Meet our new faculty

The Penn State Department of Biomedical Engineering is pleased to announce five new tenure and tenure-track faculty members in 2016-17.

Daniel Hayes

Dr. Daniel Hayes
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Daniel Hayes returns to Penn State from Louisiana State University where he served as an associate professor of biological engineering from 2008 to 2016. During his time at LSU, he taught numerous engineering courses and served as the primary investigator of the Nanoscience and Tissue Engineering Laboratory. For his research work in nanoplasmonic optogeneic control systems, he was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2013) and more recently, a National Institutes of Health R01 grant. 

Hayes earned a bachelor’s degree in science and a doctoral degree in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State in 1997 and 2004, respectively. 

He has served as a founder for several start-up companies including NanoHorizons Inc. in State College PA,  and Applied Biopolymers LLC. in Baton Rouge, LA. 

At Penn State, Dr. Hayes will lead the Nanotherapeutics and Regenerative Biomaterials Lab.

Research: The Hayes lab group focuses on biomaterials engineering for applications ranging from regenerative medicine to lab-on-a-chip technologies. The research efforts in these areas are materials centered with an emphasis on nanomaterials, macromolecules and composite structures. Ongoing efforts in the lab include the development of optically and magnetically modulated drug delivery systems, quasi 3-D cell sheet culture systems, cell encapsulation and delivery materials and hybrid in situ polymerizing grafts/augments.

Xiao Liu

Dr. Xiao Liu
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Xiao Liu comes to Penn State after serving as a a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, with a specialization in neuroimaging. 

Recently, he was awarded the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Pathway to Independent (K99/R00) Award for his work in the investigation of the neural basis of resting-state function connectivity.

Liu earned a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in mechanics from Beijing University in 2002 and a Master of Engineering Degree in biomedical engineering from the same university in 2005. In 2010, he earned both a Master of Science Degree in statistics and Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. 

At Penn State, Dr. Liu will lead the Multimodal and Computational Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Research: Liu’s research interests lie in combining multi-modal neuroimaging techniques and computational approaches to investigate the functional connectivity and dynamics of the brain, particularly their changes under distinct brain conditions such as different states of consciousness and various brain diseases.  

Scott Medina

Dr. Scott Medina
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Scott Medina comes to Penn State from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where he served as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow under the direction of Joel Schneider for the past four years. 

At the NCI, Medina designed and created peptide and polymer-based biomedical devices that impacted cancer therapy and served as tools to probe cellular biology. Previous to this work, Medina earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in civil engineering from Penn State in 2006 and a Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2012.

At Penn State, Dr. Medina will lead the Precision Therapeutics and Bioresponsive Materials Laboratory.

Research: Dr. Medina’s research interests are focused on developing novel biomaterials for precision medicine, utilizing translational approaches in targeted immunotherapy and modulation of the human microbiome.

Coming January 2017

Igor Aronson

Dr. Igor Aronson
Huck Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Mathematics

Igor Aronson comes to Penn State from Argonne National Laboratory where he held the position of senior scientist and theory group leader positions at the Materials Science Division of Argonne. He also held joint appointments at the Northwestern University Graduate School and the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Aronson's main expertise is in biophysics, materials science, and applied mathematics. He has established a multi-faceted approach to active bio-inspired materials, where experiment, theory, and simulations, are integrated within one interdisciplinary research group.

Research: At Penn State, Aronson will lead the Active Biomaterials Laboratory which will focus on a cross-disciplinary research adgenda at the interface of bioengineering, materials science, applied mathematics, and chemistry.  Dr. Aronson is interested in mathematical modeling and experimental characterization of a broad class of biological and synthetic systems where metabolism and other non-equilibrium processes lead to the onset of self-organization and collective behavior. His research ranges from mathematical modeling of cell motility and collective cell migration, experimental and theoretical studies of active biocomposites represented by swimming bacteria and biological liquid crystals, to the design of active ink for 3D printing. 

Raj Kothapalli

Dr. Raj Kothapalli
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Raj Kothapalli comes to Penn State from Stanford University where he is currently an instructor in the Department of Radiology.

Kothapalli received his basic education and research training in physics and optical engineering in India. In 2004, he received a Master of Science degree in applied physics from the University of Massachusetts, and in 2009, earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University.

During his post-doctoral training, Kothapalli worked with Sanjiv Gambhir, professor of radiology and nuclear medicine at Stanford University, to design and develop a novel dual modality medical device for combined ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging of the human prostate. The device was later translated to the Urology Clinic at Stanford, and as principal investigator, Kothapalli conducted pilot clinical trials on several prostate cancer patients.

Recently, Kothapalli was awarded a K99-R00 Pathway to Independence grant award (2014-2019) from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and the Bioengineering Center of National Institutes of Health to develop and translate advanced photoacoustic imaging systems using MEMS based ultrasonic arrays.

Research: At Penn State, Kothapalli’s research laboratory will focus on developing novel optical, ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging/sensing technologies for both pre-clinical and clinical applications in cancer and neurological diseases. Equal emphasis will be placed on translating these technologies to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Cancer Institute.

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The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

205 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614