NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ Cited for his "national influence on the development of biomedical engineering as a discipline," Dr. Thomas R. Harris, chair of the biomedical engineering department at Vanderbilt, recently received the highest award given by the Biomedical Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.
The Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award is given to an educator for lifetime achievement in teaching, research and administration in biomedical engineering academic programs.
The announcement praised Harris, who is the Orrin Henry Ingram Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, for his leadership in building a strong department in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt, his national leadership as past president of the Biomedical Engineering Society and his service chairing the departments of bioengineering and biomedical engineering.
The award release also describes Harris’ leadership of the Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas-Harvard/MIT NSF Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies as being "of great current and potential significance to American bioengineering education." As the center’s director, he has been the key figure in "assembling a well-funded team of first-rate academic engineers, learning scientists, and industrial practitioners in an effort to define taxonomies of bioengineering knowledge and, with the aid of cognitive science, to package knowledge using modern educational technology in the best possible way," the release states.
Harris’ research has focused on the basic biophysical mechanisms that regulate fluid exchanges in the capillaries of the lung, and on the creation of a mathematical model describing the fluid mechanics involved. His work has resulted in two patents for new less invasive methods utilizing optical and ultrasound technologies for the diagnosis of cardiovascular injury and disease.
Harris received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Tulane University and his M.D. from Vanderbilt University.
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