Cellular bioengineer Cynthia Reinhart-King elected to fellow of IAMBE

University Distinguished Professor and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering Cynthia Reinhart-King has been elected to the 2023 Class of Fellows of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE).

IAMBE is made up of fellows who are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the profession of medical and biological engineering at an international level. Fellows are nominated and elected by existing members of the academy.

Cynthia Reinhart-King

Reinhart-King, senior associate dean of for research in the School of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering and cell and developmental biology, was elected “for pioneering work on the role of cellular mechanics in disease progression in cancer and atherosclerosis.”

Reinhart-King is a cellular bioengineer and a leader in her field. Her seminal work has contributed to breakthroughs 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.

Her research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and several research foundations. Reinhart-King’s 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.

Her lab’s research interests are in the areas of cell and tissue mechanics and cell migration as it relates to disease progression particularly in cancer, atherosclerosis, and wound healing. The citations of her cellular bioengineering research number in the thousands.

Reinhart-King is president of the Biomedical Engineering Society and a fellow of BMES, a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, co-director for the Center on Mechanobiology at Vanderbilt and an elected Faculty Senator. She was an inaugural New Voices Fellow of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. She served as a standing member of the NIH CMT study section panel, an elected board member of AIMBE, secretary and elected board member of BMES, and chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of AIMBE.

At Vanderbilt, she has received the Chancellor’s Award for Research and the Edward J. White Service Award from the School of Engineering. Prior to joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2017, she was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University.  At Cornell, she received the Sonny Yau ‘72 Excellence in Teaching Award, a Cook Award for “contributions towards improving the climate for women at Cornell,” the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award from the Cornell College of Engineering, a Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award and the inaugural Mid-Career Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, and an NSF CAREER Award.

Reinhart-King earned undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and biology at MIT and her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Bioengineering.

The IAMBE is made up of fellows who are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the profession of medical and biological engineering and is affiliated with the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE).

Contact:  Brenda Ellis, brenda.ellis@vanderbilt.edu