Mary-Ann Mycek named next BME Chair

Mary-Ann Mycek has been named the new interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, effective July 1, 2021. Mycek, who joined U-M’s BME faculty in 2003, will be the sixth chair of the department.

by Brandon Baier

Mary-Ann Mycek, Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education in the College of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering professor, has been named the interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), effective July 1, 2021. She will be the sixth chair of the department, which was founded in 1996 and formally became a joint department of the U-M College of Engineering and the Medical School in 2012. She succeeds Lonnie D. Shea, William and Valerie Hall Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering, who has served as chair since 2014.

“I’m honored to lead the BME department as we envision emerging from the unprecedented difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and I look forward to supporting our faculty, staff, and students at this uniquely challenging time,” Mycek said. “As a joint engineering and medical school department, with one of the oldest and largest BME graduate programs in the country, and with faculty and students engaged in research and education across campus, BME is uniquely positioned to develop creative solutions to critical challenges in medicine and life sciences for the common good.”  

Mycek has served as an associate chair of the BME Department twice: first as director of the BME Master’s and doctoral graduate programs and later as the associate chair for translational research, where she assisted in management of the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley, where she specialized in condensed matter physics and ultrafast optical spectroscopy, before pursuing postdoctoral training in laser medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Professor Mycek’s translational research program involves developing and applying methods of optical science and engineering to quantitatively probe living cells and tissues, with the long-term goal of impacting patient care via the development of non- and minimally-invasive biophotonic diagnostic technologies. 

A prolific researcher in optical molecular imaging, clinical optical diagnostics, and computational modeling for quantitative tissue diagnostics, Mycek was honored to receive the Award for Outstanding Accomplishment from the BME Department and to be elected by her faculty peers to the executive board of the Rackham Graduate School. She has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and is a fellow of SPIE – The International Society for Optics and Photonics.

“Mary-Ann joined the BME faculty in 2003, relatively early in its establishment as a department, and more recently has served as the Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education. Her background combined with these experiences bring a unique perspective to this role,” said Shea. “The department is in excellent hands as we move forward and continue to evolve our education and research missions.”


As Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education, Mycek served as the chief academic officer for graduate education in CoE and was responsible for the education and welfare of over 3,600 CoE Master’s and Ph.D. students engaged in over 60 graduate engineering degree programs, and over 1,900 CoE online students and lifelong professional education learners. As education pillar co-lead for the Michigan Engineering 2020 strategic vision, Mycek launched Nexus, the College’s new home for online and professional engineering education. She collaborated with CoE colleagues to define the new entity, then oversaw the strategic planning, staffing, branding and implementation of the unit. Established just prior to the pandemic, Nexus provided CoE with both strategic and operational advantages during the remote-learning transition. 

In her Associate Dean role, Mycek also led several diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for the College, including improving engineering faculty diversity by establishing the NextProf Nexus partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgia Tech. This partnership expands access to CoE’s NextProf Future Faculty Workshop, which is designed to encourage graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in traditionally underrepresented demographic groups to pursue academic careers.

“I am pleased to welcome Professor Mycek and congratulate her on her new leadership appointment in the BME department,” said Marschall S. Runge, who is the Dean, University of Michigan Medical School, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, and CEO, Michigan Medicine.

“Serving as Associate Dean since 2016, Professor Mycek led several college-wide strategic initiatives to achieve our vision of preeminent graduate engineering education. This included launching Nexus – our home for online and professional education, expanding access to NextProf Future Faculty Workshops, and improving graduate student support services through CoE’s CARE Center for student wellness,” said Alec D. Gallimore, who is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor both of aerospace engineering and of applied physics.

“I look forward to Mary-Ann’s leadership of the BME Department as we continue on our path from great to best.”