In support of the University of Houston's new biomedical engineering program, the Houston-based John S. Dunn Research Foundation has committed $500,000 to establish an endowed professorship.
The grant that creates the first John S. Dunn Professorship in Biomedical Engineering will support a faculty member in the Cullen College of Engineering who can broaden course offerings, spearhead new research, and increase working relationships with the Texas Medical Center.
"This professorship in the Cullen College of Engineering will represent a significant asset to the university's rapidly emerging biomedical engineering academic program, and will enhance our research efforts that are leading to the improvement of health care," said Raymond Flumerfelt, dean of engineering at UH.
The university will conduct a national search to identify a candidate for the position.
The UH undergraduate biomedical engineering curriculum, currently under review by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is expected to be launched next fall.
Matthew Franchek, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the undergraduate biomedical engineering program, said the program would emphasize biosensing and bioanalytics and include multidisciplinary courses involving natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. The college currently offers a master's degree in biomedical engineering and is seeking approval for a Ph.D. option.
"Our faculty are actively pursuing a fundamental understanding of the life sciences, the creation of new and innovative biosensing technologies and the effective integration of these knowledge bases to invent new practices in clinical medicine," Franchek said. "Eventually such advancements will move health care monitoring to our homes and allow people to better manage their individual health care. This is the kind of impact we want our research efforts to have on real-world health care and quality health care delivery. We are also excited to provide a unique education to the next generation of biomedical engineers through our biosensing focus."
Prominent Houston businessman John S. Dunn Sr. created the foundation in 1977. Dunn actively managed his insurance agency and mortgage banking firm until his death in 1982 and was a founding board member of First State Bank of Bellaire, University State Bank and University Savings Association. He also served on the boards of Hermann Hospital and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital.
The John S. Dunn Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UH will join other esteemed professors such as the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professorships, the M.D. Anderson Professorships and the Robert A. Welch Foundation Chairs in Chemistry and Science. UH has more than 100 named professors and chairs.