Mary-Ann Mycek, Ph.D., named interim chair of biomedical engineering

July 19, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

On Thursday, July 15, the board of regents approved the appointment of Mary-Ann Mycek, Ph.D., as interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), effective July 1. She takes leadership of BME — a joint department of the U-M Medical School and College of Engineering (CoE) — from Lonnie Shea, Ph.D., who chose to step down as chair.

Mycek received her B.S. in physics (highest honors) from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Following graduation, she held a postdoctoral research fellowship in dermatology at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

She joined the U-M faculty as an associate professor in 2003 and was awarded tenure in 2006. She earned promotion to professor in 2012, and was appointed CoE associate dean for graduate education in 2016. In 2018, her responsibilities expanded to include online and professional engineering education, and she was appointed associate dean for graduate and professional education. In this role, she served as chief academic officer for graduate education in CoE, and was responsible for the education and welfare of more than 3,600 master’s and Ph.D. students in over 60 graduate engineering degree programs, and over 1,900 CoE online students and lifelong professional education learners.

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. 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.

Beginning with his appointment in 2014, Shea led growth in several areas of BME, including undergraduate enrollment, female and underrepresented minority hiring and enrollment, and research expenditures. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department moved forward with several important initiatives, including the revision of its undergraduate curriculum to provide greater flexibility and incorporate biocomputing, and the renovation of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building to create new lab, classroom, collaboration, ideation and prototyping spaces.