Professor Mycek Officially Appointed as BME Chair

Dr. Mycek previously served as Interim Chair since 2021.

Professor Mary-Ann Mycek has been appointed the William and Valerie Hall Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering (BME), effective September 1, 2023, through August 30, 2028. U-M Regents voted on September 21, 2023, to confirm her appointment. 

Professor Mycek has served as interim chair of BME since July 1, 2021. As interim chair, she was responsible for the education and welfare of more than 650 BME undergraduate and graduate students, while 13 new faculty members joined the department. She also served as the principal investigator for the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program in BME – a $20M endowed program with a goal of creating a powerhouse of innovation in BME. The BME Coulter Program supports research directed at promising technologies within research laboratories that are progressing towards commercial development and clinical practice. As interim chair, Professor Mycek supported the development and implementation of several academic initiatives, including launching the first Master’s of Engineering degree program in BME, initiating the ongoing BME Exchange networking program for students, alumni and industry partners, and developing and launching BME Summer Workshops @ Michigan – an annual series on focused translational research topics for global participants hosted on-site by BME faculty, staff and students.

“I enjoyed working with Professor Mycek when she was associate dean and appreciate the unique perspective she brings to this role,” said Steve Ceccio, interim dean of Michigan Engineering. “I look forward to her continued leadership and collaboration as the William and Valerie Hall Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering.”

“We greatly appreciate Dr. Mycek’s strong leadership as interim chair since 2021, and we are thankful that she will now serve as chair of BME, said Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, dean of the U-M Medical School. “During her tenure, BME has made tremendous strides in education and research, and we have every confidence that Dr. Mycek will lead the department to even greater heights during the next five years.” 

“I’m truly honored to be appointed the William and Valerie Hall Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan,” said Professor Mycek. “I’m immensely proud of our U-M community of nearly 1,000 BME students, postdocs, research scientists, staff, and faculty, and the important work they do every day to realize our research and educational mission. Moving forward, I’m excited to work with the broader BME community and our friends to further promote and enable BME’s mission, and to expand the department’s impact for the benefit of humanity.”

Professor Mycek received her PhD in physics from the University of California at 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. She was appointed as an assistant professor at Dartmouth College in 1998. Professor Mycek joined the faculty at U-M as an associate professor in 2003 and was awarded tenure in 2006. She 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. She was promoted to professor in 2012, and was appointed the associate dean for graduate education in Michigan Engineering in 2016. In 2018, her responsibilities were expanded to include online and professional engineering education and she was appointed the associate dean for graduate & professional education. In 2021, she was appointed the interim chair of the department of biomedical engineering, a joint department in the Michigan Engineering and the Medical School.

As associate dean for graduate and professional education, Professor Mycek served as the chief academic officer for graduate education in Michigan Engineering and was responsible for the education and welfare of more than 3,600 Master’s and PhD students engaged in over 60 graduate engineering degree programs. She was also responsible for the education and welfare of more than 1,900 Michigan Engineering online students and lifelong professional education learners. As associate dean, she co-led the Education pillar of our ME 2020 strategic vision, creating and implementing strategic initiatives and assessment plans related to CoE graduate, online, and professional education. In 2018, she established the NextProf Nexus partnership with UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech. The partnership expanded access to Michigan Engineering’s NextProf Future Faculty Workshop, which is designed to encourage graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in traditionally underrepresented demographic groups to pursue academic careers. In 2019, she launched Nexus, Michigan Engineering’s home for online and professional engineering education. Established just prior to the pandemic, Nexus provided both strategic and operational advantages during the remote-learning transition.

A researcher in biomedical photonics, Professor Mycek 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. Her 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. The research strategy she employs includes optical molecular imaging, clinical optical diagnostics, and computational modeling for quantitative tissue diagnostics, with diverse applications including early cancer detection, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. The scope and significance of her contributions to science and engineering are evidenced by her peer-reviewed publications (more than 175 journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings), scientific presentations (more than 165 invited and contributed talks and posters), and intellectual property (seven issued U.S. patents).

Professor Mycek’s wide range of experiences and achievements in translational research and inclusive, institutional leadership will be invaluable as BME continues to solve important challenges in medicine and life sciences to the benefit of humanity.