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Initiative Will Bring Together Engineers at UCSF to Tackle Challenges in Health

Tejal Desai Named Director of UCSF Health Innovation Via Engineering Program

Tejal Desai in a laboratory
Tejal Desai, PhD, will lead a new program that will bring together engineers from across UCSF to address unsolved challenges at the intersection of engineering and health. Photo by Cindy Chew

A new initiative at UC San Francisco will bring together engineers to tackle some of the most urgent challenges in health.

The Health Innovation Via Engineering (HIVE) program will be led by Tejal Desai, PhD, the chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.

“From nanoscale sensors that monitor biological changes in the body to engineered tissues for organ replacement, engineering can play a critical role in revolutionizing diagnostics, treatments and cures,” said Desai, who is the Ernest L. Prien Endowed Professor. “We hope this initiative will strengthen and expand our growing community of engineers across UCSF and allow us to work effectively and collaboratively to create transformative engineering innovations for health.”

We hope this initiative will strengthen and expand our growing community of engineers across UCSF and allow us to work effectively and collaboratively to create transformative engineering innovations for health.

Tejal Desai, PhD

The HIVE program will drive connections and collaborations with faculty members in UCSF’s schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy to address unsolved challenges at the intersection of engineering and health. HIVE also will help to raise visibility around current engineering advances at UCSF and allow the University to interface and collaborate externally in an integrated fashion.

“UCSF’s community has grown to include dozens of leading engineers and technologists who are working across our basic research and clinical enterprises,” said UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Daniel Lowenstein, MD. “This new program will ensure that we remain at the forefront of innovation as the importance of technology generation and engineering grows in the field of biomedical science.”

As director of the new initiative, Desai will work closely with departments across UCSF to facilitate new faculty hiring in engineering and applied sciences, support existing faculty members through seed funding initiatives, enhance student and postdoctoral training opportunities at the intersection of engineering and basic/clinical sciences, develop engineering-focused internal and external partnerships, and foster collaborations with other institutions.

Desai’s own research exemplifies the power of bringing together engineering and health. Her work focuses on the use of micro and nanotechnologies to create new ways to deliver medicine to target sites in the body and to enable the body to heal itself. Her teams’ projects include novel therapeutic delivery devices, implantable cell-based devices, and biomaterial-based interventions for tissue regeneration and immunomodulation.