Biomedical Engineering Names New Department Chair

“Lab on a Chip” expert Professor Abraham Lee to begin July 1, 2010

Abraham (Abe) P. Lee, Ph.D., a pioneer in micro and nano fluidics technology, and professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, has been named the new chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), effective July, 1, 2010.

Currently, Lee directs the Micro/Nano Fluidics Fundamentals Focus (MF3) Center at UC Irvine, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Industry supported research center that studies micro- and nano-fluidics – the science and technology of preparing and handling small amounts of fluids on microchips.  With scientists and researchers representing the disciplines of biomedical, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as chemistry, research applies to areas such as health care, electronics, and environmental and food monitoring.  Lee is also The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s faculty chair, and served as both the graduate committee chair and BME associate department chair for five years, from 2003 - 2008.  

“I am pleased to welcome Professor Lee as new chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and know that he will make tremendous contributions to the Department through his outstanding leadership and expertise,” said Rafael L. Bras, distinguished professor and dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  “I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Acting Chair and Associate Dean for Research, Professor William Tang, who has expertly guided the Department during this transition.”

Prior to joining UC Irvine in 2002, Lee was a senior technology advisor in the Office of Technology and Industrial Relations at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office of DARPA in Arlington, VA from 1999-2001.  At DARPA, he initiated the "BioFluidic Chips" (BioFlips) Program to develop microfluidic chips for biodetection and soldier health.  Lee began his career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and led projects on the development of microtools for the treatment of stroke and biowarfare defense.  

Over the course of his career, he has developed a series of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices for biomedical and biotechnological applications.  His current research focuses on the development of active integrated microfluidics, electrofluidics, acoustic, and droplet microfluidic platforms for applications such as biosensors to detect environmental and terrorism threats; point-of-care and molecular diagnostics; “smart” nanomedicine for early detection and treatment; automated cell sorting technologies; and tissue engineering and cell-based therapeutics.

Lee served as editor for the Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems from 2004-2009, and recently joined the editorial board for the prominent journal, Lab on a Chip.  He is also a member of the Technical Program Committee for the MicroTAS conference (2008-present), in addition to Microtechnologies for Medicine and Biology and Frontiers in Biomedical Devices.  He has served as editor of four books, edited two special journal issues, and is author of five book chapters.  He has also given more than 100 invited presentations, owns 36 issued U.S. patents, and has published more than 100 peer reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings.  

Just recently, Lee was elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.  In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious “Pioneers in Miniaturisation Award” for his excellent research, academic achievements, and major contributions to moving the LOC community forward.  

Lee received a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992.