Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, director designate and next steps

April 30, 2012
Ian A. Waitz, Dean, School of Engineering, 2011–2017 |

The School of Engineering enthusiastically supports the establishment of an Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at MIT, and looks forward to serving as the administrative home for this exciting new endeavor.

As we move towards a formal launch of the Institute on July 1, 2012 there is much important work to be done to refine the vision and mission of IMES, to incorporate the HST Program in a manner that ensures its future health and further advances its status as a world‐class educational program, and to define the detailed management structure, initial resource base, founding faculty roster, and initial leadership team.

With regard to the initial leadership team, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Arup K. Chakraborty as the Director Designate for the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. Dr. Chakraborty is the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT with joint appointments as a Professor of Chemistry, and Professor of Biological Engineering. He is also a founding member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, an interdisciplinary research institute aimed at understanding the immune system, with an initial focus of harnessing this knowledge to develop a vaccine against HIV. Professor Chakraborty is an exceptional scholar and educator who is recognized for his ground-breaking work to model and understand the adaptive immune response to pathogens. He has many collaborations with immunology laboratories in top medical schools, and is a visionary leader in research and teaching at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and has won numerous awards and honors for his research and teaching including a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. Professor Chakraborty received a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware, did postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota, and served on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley for 16 years, prior to joining the MIT faculty in 2005.

I have asked Professor Chakraborty to lead a Faculty Advisory Committee on IMES Implementation, which will report to the IMES Steering Committee (composed of Marc Kastner, Dean of the School of Science, Claude Canizares, Associate Provost and Vice President for Research, and me). The Advisory Committee will develop the strategy and implementation plans for the new Institute to advance education and research at the convergence of engineering, science, and medicine for the benefit of global health. The committee will help identify the most appropriate mechanisms to achieve this goal while establishing strong links to other units within and external to MIT, and assuring a robust long-term future for the HST program. I look forward to working with the IMES Steering Committee to define the membership of the Advisory Committee in the days ahead. Professor Chakraborty and I will also begin working closely with HST faculty members and leadership to ensure a smooth transition to this new structure.

The Institute for Medical Engineering and Science represents a wonderful opportunity for MIT to educate future leaders and contribute solutions to some of the most important and challenging problems society faces. If you have recommendations regarding the new Institute, or would like to get involved with the work of the Institute, I encourage you to reach out to Professor Chakraborty, myself, or the other members of the IMES Steering Committee.

Ian A. Waitz
Dean of Engineering