Cynthia Reinhart-King is president-elect of the Biomedical Engineering Society

Cynthia Reinhart-King, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering, is the new president-elect of the Biomedical Engineering Society. She will start her term at the society’s 2021 annual meeting Oct. 6-9 in Orlando, Florida.

Cynthia Reinhart-King

Reinhart-King will serve one year as president-elect, two years as the society’s president, and one year as past president. BMES is the largest professional society for biomedical engineering and bioengineering, representing more than 5,000 members.

“Congratulations to Cindy on her outstanding achievement,” said Philippe M. Fauchet, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering. “All of us who work closely with her would agree that her leadership and vision are bound to strengthen an organization that she has devoted years of service to. Leading BMES is clearly a reflection of her dedication to the society as well as the respect of her peers.”

“BMES is my scientific home. I have been involved in the society for more than 20 years, since my time as a graduate student,” Reinhart-King said. “I have attended almost every annual meeting, and I have served on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and as a Program, Track, and Session Chair. I helped to create the New Innovator special issues of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, which has helped highlight some of our society’s superstars. I have really enjoyed helping to build and shape the society.”

Reinhart-King is a fellow of the BMES and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. She served as secretary of the society from 2018 to 2020. In 2018, she received the Inaugural BMES Mid-Career Award. Her service to the BMES includes program chair of the 2016 Annual BMES Meeting, co-chair of the National Meetings Committee, and member of the Board of Directors, 2014-2017. In 2010, she received the society’s Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award.

“As president, I will be fiscally responsible and socially-minded. I am drawn to building consensus, and I am not afraid to explore new ideas to arrive at a better outcome,” Reinhart-King said. “We also are in a terrific window of having robust membership, with many members who are eager to get involved with the society’s activities, and a national lens on science and scientists. One of my goals will be to identify and create opportunities for our members to help build the reach of the society and its members.

Reinhart-King is a cellular bioengineer whose seminal work on extracellular matrices has contributed to a breakthrough in understanding tumor formation. She was one of the first to show how the matrix, or the non-cellular glue in all tissues and organs, can stiffen when a tumor forms and promote tumor growth and interfere with the effectiveness of cancer treatments. The citations of her cellular bioengineering research number in the thousands.

Her research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Her bold approach to sort breast cancer cells based on their behavior first has produced compelling data that show less migratory cells create more metastases, contradicting the prevailing hypothesis on how cancer spreads. To expand this research to other highly metastatic and lethal cancers, the prestigious W. M. Keck Foundation awarded her a three-year, $1 million grant in 2020. The grant is one of those awarded nationally for medical research projects “that are high-risk with the potential for transformative impact,” according to the foundation.

Reinhart-King was named a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Inaugural New Voices Fellow, 2018-2020; and she served as an editorial board member of the Biophysical Journal, 2018-2020, and a current editorial board member of Science Advances. She is a standing member of the NIH CMT study section. Reinhart-King served as chair of the AIMBE Diversity and Inclusion Committee until 2020 when she became a board member.

In addition to a number of awards and honors, she is the recipient of a NSF Faculty Early Career Award and in 2020 she won a Chancellor’s Award for Research for her 2019 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She also has won numerous awards for teaching and mentoring.

Reinhart-King joined the Vanderbilt School of Engineering faculty in early 2017 after 10 years on the faculty of Cornell University.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314