Congratulations to Dr. Bruce Wheeler, emeritus professor, in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering for receiving the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), one of the world’s largest professional societies in bioengineering. This award is given annually to an individual “For outstanding service and contributions to the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.” Scientific contributions and academic achievements are major criteria for the award, which represents the highest honor for the society to recognize one of its 10,000+ members each year.
Dr. Wheeler’s research interests lie in the application of electrical engineering methodologies to neuroscience. His work influenced the development of neural spike sorting technologies and demonstrated that microelectrode array recording from brain slices was possible and productive. His work aims at basic science understanding of the behavior of small populations of neurons, in hopes of creating a better insight into the functioning of the brain.
At the recent World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus Professor Bruce Wheeler was elected to the Administrative Council of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). IFMBE is the umbrella society coordinating the activities of 58 member societies with over 120,000 members from 54 countries. IFMBE has solid links to international clinically oriented bioengineering, including the World Health Organization. Dr. Wheeler was also named a Fellow of the IFMBE’s Academy earlier this year.
The J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering is sending off Dr. Bruce Wheeler to both retirement from UF (with Emeritus Professor status) and to the position of Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California at San Diego. Professor Wheeler’s new position is predominantly for undergraduate teaching and in particular to be actively involved in the development of the new UCSD undergraduate bioengineering major in Systems Bioengineering, which will be strongly influenced by electrical engineering concepts as applied to biomedicine. He will continue his currently funded (NIH) research program with collaborators at UF and at UC Irvine during the transition.
His refocused efforts will be fitting, as Professor Wheeler has had a strong career interest in undergraduates, which included his previous faculty position as Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs of the ECE department at Illinois, and for which he won multiple college and campus advising awards. Dr. Wheeler is also very proud of having helped start two undergraduate BME degree programs, at Florida and at Illinois, and even more proud of the outstanding graduates of both programs who are going on to positions of leadership across the United States. He was honored to present diplomas to the first undergraduate class of Gator Biomedical Engineers last spring.
Professor Wheeler was the Acting Chair of the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering during the years of 2009-2012, doubling the size of the faculty and helping to start the undergraduate BME program. Previously, he was the Founding and Interim Head of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. He has also served as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
Dr. Bruce Wheeler has been chosen as a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE). This award is given for outstanding contributions to the profession of medical and biological engineering. IAMBE is affiliated with the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), which coordinates the activities of 63 BME societies in 54 countries, including a triennial World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. Wheeler was recognized for his academic contributions to BioMedical Engineering, including being the Founding (BS/MS/PhD degrees) and Acting Head of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois, as well as the Acting Chair (co-proposer of the BS BME degree) of the Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. He has served as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering and as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (world’s largest, oldest and most global BME society). He is known for fundamental research contributions to neural engineering, including neural signal processing, microfabrication of electrode arrays, and understanding how control of neural growth in vitro affects neural function.
The 6th European Medical and Biological Engineering Conference (MBEC 2014) was sponsored by the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 7-11, 2014. This conference continues the series of well-known European IFMBE Conferences held in Budapest in 2011, Antwerp in 2008, Prague in 2005, and two times in Vienna in 2002 and 1999. The general theme of MBEC 2014 was “Towards new horizons in biomedical engineering”. Professor Bruce Wheeler was invited to give a keynote talk for the conference on “Cultured Neural Networks: From Patterns to Circuits with Information Transfer”.
Congratulations to Professor Bruce Wheeler on his election as a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)! BMES Fellow is a distinction reserved for only a few select BMES members who demonstrate exceptional achievements and experience in the field of biomedical engineering, and a record of membership and participation in the Society. Only seven Fellows were selected this year!
Dr. Wheeler was elected Fellow for his contributions to research in neural engineering, to the development of biomedical engineering programs, to engineering education, and to service at the university, national and international levels. In research he pioneered what is nicknamed “brain on chip”, with fundamental technology developments in the recording of activity from brain slices on surface multi-element electrode arrays (MEAs), which has led to world wide use of this research technique. He developed several techniques for controlling the in vitro (cell culture) geometric growth of neurons in particular and cells in general, has shown effects of form on neuronal function, and is developing technology for constructing on chip mimics of known anatomical circuits. This is a combined effort of microfabrication, signal processing/pattern recognition, and collaborative neuroscience.
Bruce Wheeler, the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering (TBME), completes his second term on December 31, 2012. His successor is Dr. Bin He of the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Wheeler succeeded Dr. Jose Principe, of the UF Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, whose term ran from 2001 through 2006. Dr. Donald Childers, also of the UF ECE Department, served as Editor in Chief in the 1990’s. Having three Editors in Chief from the same university, and two in succession, is highly unusual and speaks highly of UF leadership in the field of Biomedical Engineering.
The Transactions on Biomedical Engineering is the largest and most cited general topic biomedical engineering journal in the world. This year there will be over 1800 submissions and approximately 360 published papers, both representing a doubling of activity since the end of 2006. Dr. Wheeler has also reduced the time to first decision from 100 days to 40. Dr. Principe also saw a significant reduction in turnaround time when he introduced electronic reviewing to TBME as well as a doubling of submissions during his editorship. Articles published in the journal will be cited nearly 12,000 times this year, in substantial part because of the journal’s outstanding citation “half-life” of over 8 years, much greater than most scientific journals. The Transactions is also exceptionally international, with submissions from Europe exceeding those from North America and those from China exceeding all other nations except the United States. In all, the growth of the journal is a credit to Dr. Wheeler, but more significantly a sign of the rapidly growing importance of biomedical engineering world-wide.
Dr. Wheeler estimates that he has sent over 50,000 emails – admittedly many automated — identifying the University of Florida as the home of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. This identity will continue when Dr. Wheeler assumes the Presidency of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in January.