Two Vanderbilt biomedical engineers to lead prestigious academic societies

Two outstanding scholars in the same engineering department have been elected presidents of distinguished academic societies. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen is president elect of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics that serves 257,000 constituents from 173 countries. Cynthia Reinhart-King is president elect of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the professional home for biomedical engineering and bioengineering that serves more than 5,000 members.

Mahadevan-Jansen is an acknowledged leader in biomedical photonics. She is the Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering, and director of the Biophotonics Center at Vanderbilt.

Reinhart-King is a trailblazing cancer researcher and leader in bioengineering. She is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, a professor of biomedical engineering, and director of the department’s graduate studies.

“The appointments of Anita and Cynthia to lead eminent professional societies reflect the significant contributions they are making in their respective fields of engineering. To have both as faculty in the same department is remarkable!” said Philippe M. Fauchet, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering. “Their vision, leadership, and experience certainly will not only serve their colleagues around the world, but also further enhance the mentorship of our students and the ‘lead by example’ philosophy we embrace as a school.”

Mahadevan-Jansen’s technical interests include biophotonics, optical spectroscopy, and imaging for disease detection, neurophotonics, cancer diagnosis, optical guidance of surgery, and clinical translation of optical technologies.

“I am reassured by the support of the optics and photonics community and I am excited to serve the society,” said Mahadevan-Jansen, a SPIE Fellow.

Reinhart-King, a BMES fellow, is a cellular bioengineer whose seminal work on extracellular matrices has con- tributed to a breakthrough in understanding tumor formation. The citations of her cellular bioengineering research number in the thousands.

“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 BMES members who are eager to get involved with the society’s activities, and a national lens on science and scientists.”

Mahadevan-Jansen and Reinhart-King will serve as presidents-elect in 2021 and as the societies’ presidents in 2022.

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