Statements from AIMBE President Tejal Desai, Ph.D.

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

I am writing once again about another student visa issue that impacts our universities, BME departments and research labs. The Administration has released new rules withdrawing visas for international students planning to attend US colleges that have announced online courses for the fall semester. Further, the State Department is no longer issuing visas to students planning to be enrolled in schools that do not intent to have in-person classes on campus. As many as 1.6 million students could be impacted by this action.

In a letter to the President and Congress, AIMBE and a group of allied engineering and scientific groups, have urged the immediate withdrawal of these rules. These actions place an undue burden on our universities and raises potential risks as institutions seek to implement actions that ensure the continuation of education while protecting the health and safety of students and faculty.

Please consider joining me in sending your Members of Congress an email supporting AIMBE’s position on this matter. AIMBE makes it easy to personalize and send your message to Congress in less than two minutes by clicking this LINK.

Our universities have always attracted the best and brightest to come to America to study and contribute to our nation’s global leadership in science and biomedical research. International students contribute billions to the US economy, enrich our engineering and science workforce, and are a critical contribution to our nation’s global leadership in science and biomedical research.

Please feel free to share this effort and the link with others and thank you for your continued support and engagement with AIMBE.

Tejal

Tejal Desai, Ph.D.
President, AIMBE

Ernest L. Prien Professor and Chair
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
1400 I Street, N.W., Suite 235
Washington, DC 20005

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

I am writing regarding a new challenge facing our nation’s scientific enterprise, graduate schools and research labs. President Trump signed an Executive Order suspending foreign worker visas at least until the end of this year. While the action does not restrict the F-1 Optional Practical Training Program it does impact new H-1b, H-2b and J visas.

Recently, AIMBE and 35 scientific societies groups wrote a letter urging the Administration and Congressional leaders about the importance of the scientific enterprise to our nation’s recovery from COVID-19 and its economic impact. This enterprise is fueled in part by America’s colleges and universities’ abilities to attract the best and brightest from around the world. The President’s action jeopardizes 85,000 new visas issued each year for foreign students to work in the US temporarily during or soon after completing their studies. Equally as troubling, it is another signal the US is less open and welcoming to foreign students.

It is important your Senators and Representative know how this Executive Order will impact your university and research lab. AIMBE makes it easy for you in less than 2 minutes to send your elected officials a pre-drafted message using this LINK. Feel free to edit the message to your personal view or simply click SEND.

Thank you for your continued support of AIMBE and its advocacy mission on behalf of our scientific enterprise.

Tejal

Tejal Desai, Ph.D.
President, AIMBE

Ernest L. Prien Professor and Chair
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
1400 I Street, N.W., Suite 235
Washington, DC 20005

Dear AIMBE Fellows and Colleagues:

During this challenging time in our nation, it is important that our communities come together to support each other. We, as scientists, professionals, and engineers, must unite in the cause to eliminate racism, advance criminal justice reform, and fight against economic and health care inequality. At the same time, we must work to address the health disparities that exist in this country, becoming ever more evident as the nation confronts over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

As biomedical and biological engineers, we are addressing the COVID-19 challenges with demonstrated leadership by retooling our labs, redistributing PPEs, and implementing creative solutions for this pandemic. So too, we must individually provide the leadership on our campuses, in our corporate workplaces, and our communities to address the injustices that threaten and restrict far too many in our society from their pursuit of happiness and full potential. The recent murder of George Floyd presents a stark and sobering reminder that not all communities are able to enjoy the same privileges.

As with most national crises, a cause is neither narrow nor the answers simple or direct. Yet, experience has demonstrated that each of us must begin by first acknowledging the reality of the problem, our individual roles in both the causes and solutions, whether small or large, and the importance of standing up, taking action, and working together.

Now, more than ever, we each need to advance the conversation in our homes, our workplace, and in our neighborhoods and communities. Conversation can bring us together, identify the challenges, focus our sights, unite our actions, and implement change.

The biomedical and biological engineering community can and must meet the challenges of this moment by confronting longstanding racism and its impact on economic and health care inequality. AIMBE is committed to engaging the community on ways we can address some of these injustices as we go forward. Our mission of advocacy and sense of community has never felt more important.

Tejal Desai, Ph.D.
President, AIMBE

Ernest L. Prien Professor and Chair
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
1400 I Street, N.W., Suite 235
Washington, DC 20005

About Dr. Desai:

Dr. Desai’s research brings together advanced micro and nanotechnologies, fundamental insight into cellular behavior in engineered environments, and novel pharmacologic delivery approaches to address disease treatment and clinical translation. Currently, her laboratory focuses on four highly interdisciplinary directions: 1. Hierarchical devices for enhanced cellular adhesion and paracellular drug transport; 2. Injectable and flexible nanoporous devices for rate-controlled long term release of therapeutics; 3. Nanostructured coatings and scaffolds for pro-healing implants and in vivo modulation of fibrosis, and 4. Cell-based delivery platforms for autoimmune disease applications. She envisions a future of precision medicine, enabled by advances in nanotechnology, engineering, and cell biology directed to clinical challenges in disease treatment. By taking advantage of our understanding of how cells respond to engineered materials and our ability to fabricate precise structural domains, her lab seeks to design new platforms to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery.

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