Donald Gaver, chair of biomedical engineering at Tulane University, has been named a 2015 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
Gaver is among 347 scientists being recognized this year for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. He is being specifically honored for “distinguished contributions to the field of biofluid mechanics and surfactant transport in pulmonary pathophysiology, and for academic leadership in the field of biomedical engineering.”
“I am delighted by this honor,” Gaver said. “In my opinion, AAAS is a superb advocacy organization for the sciences and engineering. I’m very happy that AAAS recognizes the advances we have made at Tulane and in New Orleans, and I believe that my election as a Fellow of AAAS is a recognition of our successes.”
Donald P. Gaver is looking for serious science students who possess a penchant for taking entrepreneurial risks. Gaver, the Alden J. “Doc” Laborde professor and chair of biomedical engineering, is directing a new interdisciplinary PhD program in bioinnovation at Tulane University.
Donald P. Gaver, biomedical engineering professor and director of the interdisciplinary bioinnovation PhD program, sees the ideal candidate for the program as a risk taker as well as a passionate scientist. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
“I want the person who cares passionately about the science, but not only about the science,” says Gaver. “They want to do this because they think they can develop a technology or product that can be useful in the marketplace.”
The interdisciplinary program for which Gaver is recruiting doctoral candidates involves 30 faculty members in the schools of Science and Engineering, Medicine, Law and Business.
Bioinnovation is medically related biological innovation — anything that can positively affect human health.
For 250,000 patients in the U.S. suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), mechanical ventilation is a necessary part of treatment. But the life-saving treatment also can cause great damage to the lungs. Tulane researchers Donald Gaver and Will Glindmeyer are investigating a new strategy that could improve the outcomes for ARDS patients.
“In the same way an overinflated balloon will burst, alveoli inside the lung can burst when too much air inflates them,” says Gaver, professor of biomedical engineering at Tulane. “And if too little air gets to the lungs, airways collapse and reopen and the steady repetition can inflame and swell tissues.”
Additionally, explains Gaver, ARDS can destroy surfactant, a chemical substance in the lungs that keeps lung walls from sticking together and makes lung inflation possible. The destruction of surfactant can be exacerbated by mechanical lung ventilation.