Urs Utzinger has been named interim head of the University of Arizona biomedical engineering department, filling the vacancy left open last month when Jennifer Barton was appointed UA associate vice president for research.
“We welcome Urs to the College leadership team at a time when we are growing our research and educational programs,” said UA College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. “Biomedical engineering is a key focus area for moving the College forward, and Urs will continue on the dynamic trajectory established under Jennifer Barton’s leadership. Urs brings a reputation for thoroughness and thoughtfulness, and he is a strong student advocate.”
UA biomedical engineering, the University’s newest department established less than three years ago, is just one of the departments in which Utzinger teaches and collaborates on research projects. Utzinger also is an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, optical sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and is a member of the BIO5 Institute and an associate member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
“BME is a growing department with 165 undergraduate students. The department is still small with faculty having joint appointments and contributing to many units on campus through service, teaching and research collaborations.” said Utzinger. “I am particularly enjoying the collegiality in the department and the support I have received over the last 10 years as faculty at the UA.”
Utzinger works with researchers not only across campus but also around the world. He has published widely in the fields of spectroscopy and multispectral digital imaging, and with his collaborators holds a series of patents in those fields. His lab is developing imaging technology--prototypes of devices that can photograph cells as small as 20 microns across, a fraction of a human hair--that may one day replace surgical biopsies as a means of diagnosing cancer and other cell abnormalities.
Utzinger received his graduate training in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland. He was a post doctoral fellow and research associate at the Optical Spectroscopy Laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin, before joining the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2001.
A national search for a new department head is expected to get under way in the coming weeks.