Tejal A. Desai assumed the role of Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering at Brown University, effective September 1, 2022. An accomplished biomedical engineer and academic leader, Desai’s research spans multiple disciplines including materials engineering, cell biology, tissue engineering, and pharmacological delivery systems to develop new therapeutic interventions for disease. She seeks to design new platforms, enabled by advances in micro and nanotechnology, to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery.
She has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles and patents, and her research efforts have earned recognition including Technology Review’s "Top 100 Young Innovators," Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, and the Dawson Biotechnology Award. She was President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and is a fellow of AIMBE, IAMBE, CRS, and BMES. In 2015, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and in 2019 to the National Academy of Inventors.
Prior to coming to Brown, she was the Deborah Cowan Endowed Professor of the Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); and Professor in Residence, Department of Bioengineering, UC Berkeley (UCB). She served as director of the NIH training grant for the Joint UCSF/UCB Graduate Program in Bioengineering for over 15 years, and founding director of the UCSF/UCB Masters Program in Translational Medicine. She was also chair of the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF from 2014-2021 and the Inaugural Director of the UCSF Engineering and Applied Sciences Initiative known as HIVE (Health Innovation Via Engineering).
A vocal advocate for education and outreach to historically underrepresented groups in STEM, Desai’s work to break down institutional barriers to equity and cultivate a climate of inclusion has earned numerous honors and awards, including the AWIS Judith Poole Award in Mentorship, the 2021 UCSF Chancellors Award for the Advancement of Women, and the 2022 Controlled Release Woman in Science Award. As president of AIMBE (2020-2022), she led advocacy efforts for increased scientific funding and addressing workforce disparities in science/engineering. To foster the next generation of scientists, she was involved in the SF Science Education partnership and has worked with outreach organizations such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, PBS, and the UN Women’s council to develop hand-on exhibits and videos related to nanotechnology and women in engineering.
She received her B.S. from Brown University in biomedical engineering in 1994, and was awarded a Ph.D. in bioengineering jointly from UCSF and UC Berkeley in 1998.