By Marcene Robinson
Published July 28, 2023
Professor Yun Wu has been named chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
She will assume the role on Sept. 1.
Wu succeeds Albert Titus, who served as department chair since 2012 and will return to his faculty role as professor of biomedical engineering.
“I am confident that the Department of Biomedical Engineering will continue to thrive and reach new heights under the leadership of Professor Wu. With a deep commitment to academic excellence and a passion for nurturing the growth of both students and faculty, Professor Wu brings a wealth of experience and an inspiring vision to the position,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“I thank Professor Titus for his outstanding leadership and dedication to the department, school and UB,” says Lewis. “It is not hyperbole to say that he built the department and has played an instrumental role in its rise to one of the top biomedical engineering programs in the country.”
Allison Brashear, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, says, “With her decade-long tenure at UB and extensive research experience, Dr. Wu has a deep understanding and appreciation for our talented, accomplished team in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which has thrived under the skillful leadership of Dr. Titus. I am confident she will build upon the program’s history of innovation and success.”
A UB faculty member since 2013, Wu has made significant contributions to the development of innovative nanotherapeutics and in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer treatment and diagnosis. She has received 30 funded awards, totaling over $16 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Lung Association, Cancer Research Institute and SUNY.
Wu has published 65 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals and has received numerous awards, including the UB Exceptional Scholar: Sustained Achievement Award in 2023; the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Senior Researcher of the Year Award in 2021 and Early Career Researcher of the Year Award in 2016; and the Biomedical Engineering Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2013.
Also, a decorated educator and an accomplished academic leader, Wu was awarded the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Early Career Teacher of the Year Award and previously served as the director of graduate studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“I am incredibly grateful for the trust and confidence that has been placed in me to lead this department,” says Wu. “Biomedical engineering is a field that holds immense potential to transform lives through groundbreaking research, innovative technologies and impactful collaborations. The true power of our department lies in the collective expertise and dedication of our talented faculty, staff and students. I firmly believe that we can leverage these strengths to push the boundaries of biomedical engineering and make significant contributions to human health and well-being.”
Wu received a doctorate in chemical and biomolecular engineering from The Ohio State University.
A decade of department growth
Titus concludes his service as chair after more than a decade of leading the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He played a critical role in the creation of the department, leading the development of its undergraduate, graduate and combined degree programs in biomedical engineering.
During his tenure, the department has grown to 15 full-time faculty and over 30 affiliated faculty, as well as more than 300 undergraduate students and over 100 graduate students. He led the department through its first successful ABET accreditation in 2015. And, as of 2023, the department is ranked No. 12 in NIH funding among biomedical engineering departments by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. Prior to becoming chair, Titus served as co-chair of the department from 2010-12 and as associate chair when biomedical engineering was formed in 2008. In 2017, he was recognized for his efforts by being awarded a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service.
Titus’s focus will return to research, where his interests span a diverse array of fields, including biomedical sensors, artificial vision, and hardware and software for artificial neural networks. His innovative work has led to new ways to improve visual processing for autonomous systems, such as robots and planetary explorers; the development of specialized devices that detect biological signals from the human body; and the advancement of electronic imaging by mimicking the sensing and processing characteristics of living organisms, such as those of the human eye.
He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Titus has received numerous research grants from federal and private sources, served as a reviewer for many journals and conferences, has been awarded 10 patents, and has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal and conference articles.
He earned a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and obtained both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from UB.