The Cockrell School of Engineering has named Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, an accomplished biomedical engineer and university administrator, as the next chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sakiyama-Elbert currently serves as vice dean for research at the Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science in St. Louis, where she is also a professor of biomedical engineering and co-director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine. She will begin her appointment as department chair, professor of biomedical engineering and the holder of the Fletcher Stuckey Pratt Chair in Engineering at UT Austin on Aug. 1, 2016.

“I am thrilled to welcome Shelly as the new head of biomedical engineering at UT Austin,” said Dean Sharon L. Wood. “She will bring outstanding expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering and many other research areas, and she will be a strong leader who will continue to advance the department.”

The Cockrell School selected Sakiyama-Elbert after a competitive national search that began when previous chair Nicholas Peppas stepped down after six years to lead the new Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine in the Cockrell School in fall 2015. Professor Andrew Dunn has served as the department’s interim chair while the search was conducted.

Sakiyama-Elbert’s research interests include biomaterials, drug delivery, tissue engineering, nerve regeneration and stem cell biology with applications for therapies for spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury.

She is focused on developing new bioactive scaffolds for tissue engineering. Her goal is to make materials that can sense cell-derived signals during regeneration and respond by providing biological signals to enhance tissue regeneration. Sakiyama-Elbert is also involved in designing novel materials for protein delivery and testing the ability of these bioactive drug delivery systems to promote nerve regeneration in both peripheral nerve and spinal cord injury models.

In addition to holding 10 patents, Sakiyama-Elbert is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. She has served as either an executive member or a board member of the Society for Biomaterials, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the Tissue Engineering Regenerative Medicine International Society. Before becoming vice dean for research at Washington University, Sakiyama-Elbert served as associate chair for the Department of Biomedical Engineering for Graduate Studies.

A southern California native, Sakiyama-Elbert received her Ph.D. and master’s degree in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


January 23, 2019

Moriba Jah First Aerospace Engineer Selected as TED Fellow

Moriba Jah, an associate professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin, made history this year as the first aerospace engineer ever to be selected as a TED Fellow. ... Keep Reading

January 17, 2019

Beloved Longhorn and Chemical Engineering Legend John J. McKetta Jr. Dies at 103

John J. McKetta Jr., professor emeritus and dean emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin and namesake to the chemical engineering department in the Cockrell School of Engineering, died Tuesday, Jan. 15 at age 103. Calling UT Austin ... Keep Reading

January 14, 2019

Remembering Former Texas Engineering Dean Earnest F. Gloyna (1921-2019)

Earnest F. Gloyna, former dean of The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Engineering (now the Cockrell School of Engineering), died on Jan. 9 at the age of 97, leaving behind a legacy marked by exceptional leadership and ... Keep Reading

cover of Texas Engineering magazine with group of students
cover of Texas Engineering magazine with group of students