The bioengineering department at the University of Texas (UT) at Dallas has officially appointed Dr. Robert L. Rennaker II as the new head of the department. Dr. Rennaker is an expert in the development of neural interfaces, and is an associate professor of electrical engineering and neuroscience at the school. He is also director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center, a “collaborative effort engaging researchers from multiple disciplines working toward a common goal: creating new biomedical technology and therapies,” as described on the website.
Dr. Rennaker brings with him a strong history in the bioengineering field, as well as a long list of educational degrees. He is co-founder and owner of Vulintus LLC, a company that builds clinical and preclinical research systems for health care professionals and biomedical research firms. He served in the United States Marine Corps for five years, and he holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering. He has been teaching at UT Dallas in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the Jonsson School since 2009, when he left his seven-year long teaching career at the University of Oklahoma, where he completed his postdoctoral research.
He becomes the head of the Bioengineering Department, an undergraduate program based entirely at the UT Dallas campus, in place of Dr. Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, who is leaving the position in order to focus more on his research in statistics and computational biology related to cancer therapy. Dr. Vidyasagar has led the program since its beginning, which was in 2010. Enrolling the first students two years ago, it has grown to approximately 175 students that are capitalizing on its offering of a foundation in engineering and mathematics, complemented with biology and physiology.
Dr. Rennaker said of his new position in UT Dallas News:
“The UT Dallas biomedical engineering program is poised to become a leader in biomedical research and education. I look forward to helping UTD faculty members reach their full potential as educators and scientists, to directing the education of students interested in a field I am passionate about and being part of research programs that will improve the quality of life of all Americans through the development of advanced therapies and devices.”