PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Tejal Desai, an accomplished biomedical engineer and academic leader who earned a bachelor’s degree with Brown’s Class of 1994, has been appointed the next dean of Brown University’s School of Engineering.
An expert in applying micro- and nanoscale technologies to create new ways to deliver medicine to targeted sites in the human body, Desai is a professor and a former longtime chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California San Francisco, and inaugural director of UCSF’s Health Innovations Via Engineering (HIVE) initiative.
She has held academic leadership positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Boston University and UCSF and has served in recent years as a member of Brown’s biomedical engineering advisory board.
Brown President Christina H. Paxson and Provost Richard M. Locke announced Desai’s appointment in a Wednesday, Jan. 12, letter to the School of Engineering community.
“In addition to her groundbreaking research, Professor Desai has been a transformative leader of programs that develop and support young researchers, foster cross-disciplinary approaches to critical engineering challenges and support diversity, equity and inclusion in the engineering field,” Paxson and Locke wrote. “As a Brown graduate, she keenly understands the innovative and collaborative character of engineering at Brown, and we look forward to working with her in her new role as dean.”
Desai will begin her tenure on Sept. 1, 2022, succeeding Lawrence Larson, who has served as the inaugural School of Engineering dean since 2011. Last fall, Larson announced his plans to return to full-time teaching and research at the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year.
As dean, Desai will lead the third oldest engineering program in the U.S. and the oldest in the Ivy League. After its elevation to a school in 2010, engineering at Brown has experienced dramatic growth with the addition of new faculty, surging research funding and the construction of a state-of-the-art, 80,000-square-foot research and teaching facility.
Desai’s responsibilities will include continuing to grow the school’s research enterprise with a focus on pressing societal challenges, as well as deepening research and teaching collaboration within the school and across campus. A key priority will be continuing to diversify the school’s student body at all levels while recruiting and retaining more faculty from historically underrepresented groups.