Three New Faculty Join Department in 2014–2015

Three new faculty members have joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering with research interests in systems biology and computational modeling, bioinspired organ mimicry and regenerative medicine, and bionanotechnology.

Marcelo Behar

Marcelo Behar joins the Cockrell School from the University of California, San Diego, where he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

His research is focused on understanding the functional principle underlying how biological networks collect, process and use various types of information available to them. He expects his findings to enable therapeutic strategies to control cellular functions impacted by disease.

Behar has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, in Argentina.

What attracted you to UT Austin?
Talented students, collegial faculty, a vibrant research community and the vibe of the city of Austin.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?
Bioengineering is intrinsically linked to life. We can’t forget that the final product of our research has to interface with living matter — whether that’s a cell, a tissue or a patient. This sets a new level of requirements that forces us to look at life from an engineering perspective. Successful engineering, in any area, cannot occur without a deep understanding of the materials involved. The key material for bioengineering is life and the more the area advances, the more we learn about ourselves.

What are you favorite hobbies?
Sailing and kayaking. My wife and I were delighted to learn we can do both here in Austin.

Hyun Jung Kim

Hyun Jung Kim will join the Cockrell School in spring 2015. He is currently a Technology Development Fellow at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Among his research highlights, Kim developed a biomimetic human gut-on-a-chip, which mimics the physiology of normal intestines. His ongoing projects include a human intestinal disease model; an in vitro countermeasure for lethal radiation exposure; and human-on-chips for multi-organ integration.

Kim received his master’s degree and doctorate in biotechnology at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard from 2009 to 2012.

What attracted you to UT Austin?
I know that there are great professors, students and colleagues at UT Austin, and there is also enormous support for research and faculty. The fabulous environment and numerous opportunities for collaboration were major draws.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?
I have developed a human intestine model using memory-stick-size microchip technology. Since my research background covers microbiology, microfluidics and tissue engineering, I have truly enjoyed emulating the pathophysiology of human intestines using the principle of biologically inspired engineering for clinical and pharmaceutical applications.

What are you favorite hobbies?
I am good at playing basketball. But I would like to try to learn tennis and swimming here to get more regular exercise on a daily basis. I love hanging out with my family and going to museums and music halls.

Chong Xie

Chong Xie joins the Cockrell School from Harvard University, where he recently served as a postdoctoral fellow and worked on nanoelectronic devices and brain probes.

His research is centered on exploring and exploiting nanoelectronics in biomedical applications with an emphasis on brain and neuron science. Xie’s Ph.D. research focused on nanostructured cellular probes.

He received a bachelor’s degree in applied physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Stanford University.

What attracted you to UT Austin?
The Cockrell School of Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?
Blurring the distinction between man-made and living systems.

What are you favorite hobbies?
Spending time with my family.