Rice professors named AIMBE fellows

Tabor, Hartgerink honored by medical, bioengineering institute

Two Rice University faculty members have been named to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Jeffrey Tabor, an associate professor of bioengineering and of biosciences, and Jeffrey Hartgerink, a professor of chemistry and of bioengineering, were recognized for their “distinguished and continuing achievements.” They are among 156 new fellows.

Jeffrey Tabor

Jeffrey Tabor

Jeffrey Hartgerink

Jeffrey Hartgerink

Tabor’s research focuses on programming living cells to sense and respond to stimuli in various environments, with applications in medicine, biotechnology, defense and basic science. He has a particular focus on repurposing a large and diverse family of evolved biosensors, called two-component systems, to engineer bacteria for these applications. His group at Rice engineered the first bacterium capable of diagnosing a disease (colitis), and he is developing additional diagnostic and therapeutic bacteria for numerous other diseases.

He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Texas in 2006, trained as a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and joined the Rice faculty in 2010.

Tabor won the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2014, and in 2016 he received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for developing next-generation sensors using a family of genes called bacterial two-component systems.

Hartgerink’s lab specializes in the design, synthesis and application of peptides that self-assemble to form nanostructured materials. In one project, these peptides become nanofibrous gels that can be used for a variety of biomedical applications, including angiogenesis for ischemic conditions, diabetic wound healing and peripheral nerve regeneration.

In another project, self-assembly of peptides is used to create well-controlled collagen triple helices that play a central role in tissue structure, mechanics and regeneration. The use of peptide-based materials for biological and medical engineering applications has dramatically increased over the past two decades, and this can be attributed in no small part to the role Hartgerink has played in their development and popularization.

Hartgerink earned his Ph.D. at the Scripps Research Institute in 1999, trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University and joined the Rice faculty in 2002. He has won the Searle Scholar Award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and an NSF CAREER Award. His current research is supported by the Welch Research Foundation, the NSF and the National Institutes of Health.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.