University of California, San Francisco
Tejal Desai is the Ernest L Prien Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences within the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the director of the NIH training grant for the Joint Graduate Program in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and UCSF, and the founding director of the UCSF/UC Berkeley Masters Program in Translational Medicine. She was recently named the Inaugural Director of the UCSF Engineering and Applied Sciences Initiative known as HIVE (Health Innovation Via Engineering). Professor Desai’s research spans multiple disciplines including materials engineering, cell biology, tissue engineering, and pharmacological delivery systems to address issues concerning disease and clinical translation. She has published over 220 peer-reviewed articles, holds numerous patents, and is currently the founder of 5 start-up companies. Her research is at the cutting-edge in precision medicine, enabled by advancements in micro and nanotechnology, engineering, and cell biology directed to clinical challenges in disease treatment. By taking advantage of the current understanding of how cells respond to engineered materials and the fabrication of well-defined extracellular microenvironments, she seeks to design new platforms to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery. Her research efforts have earned recognition including Technology Review’s "Top 100 Young Innovators,” Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, and NSF’s New Century Scholar. Some of her other honors include the Eurand Grand Prize Award for innovative drug delivery technology, the Young Career Award from the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS), the Dawson Biotechnology award, and both the UC Berkeley and Brown University Distinguished Engineering Alumni awards. Recently, she was named Chair of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows. In 2015, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Professor Desai is a vocal advocate for STEM education and outreach to underrepresented minority students, collaborating with educational groups such as the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Exploratorium. She received her B.S. from Brown University in biomedical engineering and was awarded a Ph.D. in bioengineering jointly from UCSF and UCB.