Chair's message

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts. We have much to celebrate as we see how the department has grown, developed its academic and research profile, and generated a large network of alumni over these twenty years. Much of the credit goes to Professor Kaplan, who chaired the department for all these twenty years and instilled a culture of excellence while retaining the sense of a BME family that was evident since the early days after the BME department was born in 2002.

There are now about 170 undergraduate students in our primary major (BSBME) and secondary major programs (BED, BES), about 60 MS students, and about 50 PhD students in the department. The initial four core faculty members in 2002 grew to the current eleven core faculty members, with the latest additions, this year, of Assistant Professors Nisha Iyer and Juan Gnecco. Nisha and Juan are establishing their labs on stem cells and regeneration and on reproductive engineering, respectively. Their arrival expands the research portfolio of the department that covers areas of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, biomaterials, drug delivery, cancer research, sensing systems, biomedical instrumentation, biophotonics, and imaging.

We have just announced that, after a few years of deliberations and consultations with our alumni and their employers, the department has decided to sunset the accreditation from ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) of its biomedical engineering major program (BSBME), which will still retain accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The Class of 2026 will be the last class to receive an ABET accredited degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts.

A justification for the decision can be found here, but it boils down to two considerations: (1) starting with the Class of 2027 we will be able to include an option for our students to carry out a research senior capstone project, which is incompatible with ABET requirements; (2) we verified that the ABET accreditation of the degree of our BME alumni never became relevant in their graduate school, medical school, or job applications. Starting with the Class of 2027, we look forward to providing our students with options of senior capstone projects that are based on either engineering design or scientific research.

Our continued efforts toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are facilitated by Diversity Program Administrator Mafalda Gueta, who serves our department and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He supports the activities of the BME Department DEI Committee, and coordinates them with School-wide initiatives and with programs administered by the Center for STEM Diversity.

Being one of the founding members of the Department, I am honored to be its Interim Chair and to lead it while we have an ongoing external search for our next Department Chair. The Tufts BME family of students, alumni, staff, and faculty is truly exceptional. The academic and research environment of the BME Department and the School of Engineering is vibrant, and the close connections to the other Tufts Schools (Arts & Sciences, Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Nutrition, Law and Diplomacy) allow for broad opportunities of interdisciplinary initiatives at all levels. It’s easy to be proud of being a member of the Tufts BME family.

Best wishes,
Sergio Fantini
Professor and Interim Chair