AIMBE President’s Newsletter by Christine Schmidt, Ph.D.

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

The fall season for AIMBE is marked by electing outstanding colleagues to the 2019 Class of the College of Fellows, along with new AIMBE initiatives to get involved in.

The ballot for the 2019 Class of the College of Fellows has been circulated and I hope each of you will take the time to vote for your colleagues. More than 300 Fellows were involved in the nominations and review process, making this the most rigorous and robust slate of candidates to date. I personally want to thank everyone who contributed to the reviews of the nominations (a tough process!) and also to College of Fellows Chair-Elect, Paul Citron, who appointed and oversaw the review sub-committees. Be sure to complete and submit your online ballot by November 20th. An email with personalized links to all Fellows in Good Standing has been sent. If you did not receive your ballot, please contact us at

While you’re thinking about peers who should be recognized by AIMBE, consider submitting a nomination for the Pierre Galletti Award. This award is the highest honor bestowed to an AIMBE Fellow. Submit your nomination here by December 31st. Awardees will be announced at the AIMBE Annual Event next spring.

The AIMBE Annual Meeting will take place on March 24-25, 2019. Tejal Desai, College of Fellows Chair, has put together a wonderful program. I will be hosting a Presidents Circle reception for all Fellows who have donated $250 or more to AIMBE’s mission on Saturday, March 23. Mark your calendars now to be sure to attend. Register and donate in one easy step at

A theme that will be addressed at the Annual Meeting and throughout AIMBE’s work is one of diversity and inclusion in engineering. Women and underrepresented minorities have made tremendous breakthroughs and innovations that are critical to the field, often while overcoming many obstacles. AIMBE celebrates these trailblazers with a new website ( and provides a central touchpoint where individuals can find resources about diversity in the field, learn about the scientific advances of women and underrepresented minorities, and track both the progress and obstacles to success. Please share this resource,, widely with your networks.

AIMBE is proud to support new initiatives spearheaded by Fellows to advance the field. I encourage you to attend the following AIMBE-sponsored workshops in 2019:

Navigating the Nexus between Regulatory Science/Policy and Entrepreneurship
Date: February 11, 2019
Location: Washington, DC
Register to Attend

Regulatory Education in Engineering Programs
April 15-16, 2019
Location: FDA in Silver Spring, MD
Register to Attend

Lastly, I’m seeking your help in setting the agenda for AIMBE in advancing medical and biological engineering. If you would like to be considered for an AIMBE Board of Directors position, please be in touch at



Christine E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
AIMBE President

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

Hope your fall is off to a good start! Not only is this a busy time of year for academic faculty members (and parents – with three kids of my own, I understand!), it’s also the start of several critical AIMBE initiatives that require your attention and engagement.

Nominations for the 2019 Class of the College of Fellows are now open. As always, we strongly encourage you to nominate candidates outside of your institution as well as diverse candidates, so both diversity of discipline and thought are represented. Resubmitting prior candidates is welcomed, as the review process has become quite rigorous. Submit your nominations by September 30, here.

There is no better approach to impact the future of molecular and biological engineering than to support our students, mentees, and the next generation of leaders. Make sure your trainees are registered to attend AIMBE’s Public Policy Institute for Rising Leaders on October 29-30 in Washington, DC. This forum—offering travel awards to underrepresented minority students under the leadership of Past President Dr. Gilda Barabino—allows students to understand the public policy landscape shaping medicine and engineering. Keynote speaker Dr. Keith Yamamoto, UCSF’s first Chancellor for Science Policy, will kick-off the two-day event in Washington, DC.

Lastly, the AIMBE FDA Scholars Program is seeking distinguished post docs to participate in a 1-year appointment at the FDA. AIMBE has a wonderful partnership with academia, industry, and the Centers for Devices and Radiological Health at FDA. I’ll be looking for your recommendations for your trainees to participate in this highly competitive program. Applications are due by December 5, 2018 for the 2019-2020 program year. (Only U.S. citizens are eligible at this time.)

Continue to send me your ideas about efforts to advance medical and biological engineering public policies for the benefit of society. Only together—with your engagement—will we make a difference!


Christine Schmidt

AIMBE President

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

My tenure as President comes at a time when it has never been more critical for AIMBE’s engagement on public policy efforts to advance the field. You may have been following in the news and reading in AIMBE’s FLASH newsletter that NIH and NSF may see budget increases. While this is welcomed news (after years of funding that has diminished the agency’s buying power), it’s not time to settle-in comfortably.

Your responsibility as a scientist, researcher, and AIMBE Fellow is to show and tell your lawmakers why your work matters. Absent your voice, the silence is deafening to Congress. Policymakers will not continue to go to bat for federal science funding if they do not meet with you, visit your labs, and receive your letters about the importance of federal funding. This is beyond politics; it’s your due-diligence to inform the public and your lawmakers—who funds your research—about how your work supports advances in health care and outcomes for patients.

In this mid-term election season, it is imperative that you understand how your local candidates stand on federal initiatives to strengthen science and innovation. Candidates turn into lawmakers and lawmakers decide if and when to support science agencies that fund your work. Now is the time to ask future lawmakers how they would respond to pressing science, medicine, and engineering issues facing our community before election day. AIMBE has developed a resource to help you ask the right questions (either by email or in-person at campaign events).

Please share with me how you have connected with your lawmakers or candidates lately. In my next letter to you, I will be sharing some of these stories about how AIMBE Fellows are getting engaged and making a difference.

I look forward to continuing to update you on our progress in advancing medical and biological engineering. Learn more about what AIMBE is doing to support this work, by clicking here.


Christine Schmidt

Christine E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
AIMBE President

Dear AIMBE Fellows,

I am delighted to assume the role of President of AIMBE for the next two years! It was nice to meet our new Fellows recently in Washington DC – congratulations!

AIMBE Fellows represent the top 2% of engineers, scientists and physicians in the field of medical and biological engineering and thus play a central role – and have the responsibility – to educate the public, government, industry and all stakeholders about the lives that can be improved and the jobs that can be created. It is our duty, particularly considering the given political climate, to be proactive in educating and advocating, ensuring that the United States is competitive in the bioengineering field, both in terms of advanced research but also in terms of clinical translation and commercialization.

My goals as President are to:

  • enhance visibility of AIMBE as the key honorific and advocacy organization for medical and biological engineering;
  • create broader outreach and pathways for the younger generation to be engaged in our mission;
  • increase engagement of our Fellows – particularly those at the highest level of recognition in their fields (e.g., NAE members);
  • promote diversity in our Fellows and programming; and
  • increase philanthropy and sponsorships to ensure AIMBE’s sustained financial strength.

Looking to these goals, we have already re-activated AIMBE on social media as a means to engage and educate the public (follow AIMBE on Twitter at @aimbe!). We encourage you to tag AIMBE on Twitter when you have exciting research or translational activities to report, or if you engage in public education or advocacy for medical and biological engineering.

We are taking major efforts to build stronger partnerships with departments and their students by engagement through the BME Council of Chairs. AIMBE’s Executive Director, Milan Yager, has made 15 visits to departments, and has 9 more planned for the fall. The goal is to energize Fellows, young faculty, and students at institutions to all be proactive in AIMBE’s mission of advocating for the support of research. In my own personal experience, our students at UF have formed the Student Association for the Support of Science (SASS). SASS members have participated in AIMBE’s science policy institute as well as the AAAS CASE workshop where they made congressional visits in DC and have organized a lab tour at UF for our congressional representative highlighting our research and innovation!

Stronger Fellow engagement is critical to AIMBE’s success! Please, stay engaged through attendance at our annual meeting in the spring, nomination of new fellows, and participation in advocacy (congressional visits are easy and fun!).

Diversity is core to excellence, and a topic close to my heart. With our leadership team at AIMBE, I will advocate for higher representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our meeting program and Fellows class. Personally, I strongly encourage you to consider nominating a female or URM candidate in August!

Finally, financial sustainability is critical for any organization. AIMBE is a small, honorific society and typically, the expenses (staff, advocacy programs, annual meeting costs) just balance with our income (Fellows dues, meeting registration). To increase our programming and impact, we need to find ways to increase revenue. Please consider financially donating to AIMBE’s cause. In addition, we plan to offer various naming and sponsorship opportunities in the near future – we look forward to your help!

Again, AIMBE Fellows (YOU!) lay a foundation to advocate for public policy issues related to improving lives through medical and biological engineering. It’s not about each of us individually – it’s about the bigger picture – how we can effectively ensure that research is funded and then able to be translated for impact on our community. If you want to be engaged and are not sure how to start – contact me, Milan Yager or Sarah Mandell!

Thank you for your active engagement, and I look forward to hearing how you are “Standing Up for Science”! And, congratulations again to our new Fellows!

Christine E. Schmidt
AIMBE President
Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida

AIMBE Contact Information:

Christine Schmidt, President,
Milan Yager, Executive Director,
Sarah Mandell, Director of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships,
Charlie Kim, Director of Member Services,

About Dr. Schmidt:

Christine E. Schmidt, Ph.D., Pruitt Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida, has been named President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Schmidt was inducted as an AIMBE Fellow in 2009 and previously served as Chair of the College of Fellows for 2015-2016.

Members of AIMBE’s College Fellows are nominated each year by their peers and represent the top 2% of the medical and biological engineering community. Since AIMBE’s inception, over 2,000 esteemed individuals have been inducted. AIMBE’s College consists of clinicians, industry professionals, academics and scientists, who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education. Fundamental to their achievements is the common goal of embracing innovation to improve the healthcare and safety of society.

Schmidt earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She also earned her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She conducted postdoctoral research at MIT as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, joining the University of Texas at Austin Chemical Engineering faculty. Schmidt has served as Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida since 2012.

Schmidt is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE) of the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

Her research focuses on engineering novel materials and therapeutic systems to stimulate damaged peripheral and spinal neurons to regenerate. Taking a unique approach to this problem, she uses electrically conducting polymers and natural-based materials (e.g., hyaluronic acid-based biomaterials, decellularized tissues) to create therapies that can electrically, chemically, biologically and mechanically trigger neurons, at both the macroscopic and nanometer-scales.

To learn more about Dr. Schmidt’s work, featured in the news, click here