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Ren and Suggs Promoted to Full Professors

Two faculty members in the Department of Biomedical Engineering have been promoted to full professors. Dr. Pengyu Ren and Dr. Laura Suggs have made significant impacts on enhancing the department’s innovative research and teaching efforts.

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Pengyu Ren, who holds the William J. Murray Fellowship in Engineering No. 4, joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2005, and has served on a number of committees within the department and at the university level, including as the chair of the department’s Graduate Studies Committee, and as a member of the university’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Review Committee.

Ren specializes in molecular modeling of biological systems for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. He integrates computational technology and modeling with computer science, chemistry, physics, and biology to better understand molecular driving forces, such as molecular recognition and the protein structure-function relationship.

Ren is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a recipient of the Moncrief Grand Challenge Award. His computational drug discovery research has been featured on NSF Discoveries and on LiveScience.com. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Cincinnati and his B.S. in chemical engineering from Zhejiang University.

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Laura Suggs, who holds the Temple Foundation Endowed Teaching Fellowship in Engineering No. 1, joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2004. She has served as graduate advisor and currently serves as associate chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Suggs’ research primarily focuses on the development of biologically active materials and their use and behavior in relation to cardiovascular tissue engineering. Her lab designs biomaterials to mimic naturally occurring structures found in the supporting extracellular matrix. Suggs’ ultimate research goal is to develop matrix-based strategies to repair diseased or damaged vasculature.

Suggs is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and received an early career award from the National Science Foundation and the National Instruments Teaching Excellence Award. She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice University and her B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.A. in Plan II liberal arts from The University of Texas at Austin.