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The New Frontiers of Biomedical Science and Biomedical Engineering

From advances in artificial intelligence to the quest for longevity and the fountain of youth, to regenerative medicine and the promise of bioelectronics, Northwestern’s scientists and clinicians are making breakthroughs that advance health care beyond the individual patient. This panel, held Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Hughes Auditorium, explored these innovations and considered what the future holds for scientists working to enhance the quality of human life.

Get the recap of the panel from Northwestern Now, or play the video below.

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Photo Gallery



Kathleen Hagerty (’16 P)
University Provost and First Chicago Professor of Finance, Kellogg School of Management

Kathleen Hagerty became provost of Northwestern University on September 1, 2020, after serving as associate provost for faculty during the 2019–20 academic year and interim dean of the Kellogg School of Management in 2018. She joined the faculty at Kellogg more than 30 years ago and has held numerous titles during her tenure. She currently holds the First Chicago Professorship in Finance. Hagerty is an accomplished scholar and respected faculty leader, with vast experience attracting and retaining top faculty in an increasingly competitive market for academic talent. Hagerty earned her bachelor of arts in mathematics, master of science in operations research, and master of business administration in finance at the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded her PhD in economics at Stanford University.

Panel Discussion


Eric G. Neilson
Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Lewis Landsberg Dean, Feinberg School of Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Nephrology and Hypertension) and Cell & Developmental Biology

Before coming to Chicago, Neilson spent 23 years at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine as the C. Mahlon Kline Professor and then at Vanderbilt University for 13 years as the Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine. He is a member of numerous elected societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is also a past recipient of the President’s Medal and the John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology, and a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, among many other distinguished honors. In 2016, Neilson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American College of Physicians awarded him a Mastership in 2022. Neilson is an active teacher of clinical medicine. He has published over 320 scientific articles, reviews, commentaries, editorials, and books, in the areas of interstitial kidney disease, renal fibrosis, and medical science. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the leading kidney journal in the world. 


Guillermo A. Ameer
Daniel Hale Williams Professor of Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering; Professor of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine; and Founding Director, Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering

Guillermo Ameer is an engineer who works in regenerative engineering, biomaterials, on demand patient-specific medical devices, additive manufacturing for biomedical devices, controlled drug delivery, and bio/nanotechnology for improved therapeutics and diagnostics. His laboratory pioneered the development of tissue regeneration applications of citrate-based biomaterials, the technology behind innovative bioresorbable orthopedic tissue fixation used in musculoskeletal surgeries. Along with coauthoring more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference abstracts and several book chapters, he has more than 65 patents issued and pending in nine countries. He also serves in a leadership or editorial capacity on several boards related to his field. His many honors include his recent election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, membership in the National Academy of Medicine, and recognition through the 2022 Technology Innovation and Development Award and the 2022 Bioactive Materials Lifetime Achievement Award. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctoral degree in chemical and biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shana O. Kelley
Neena B. Schwartz Professor of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering; Professor of Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Feinberg School of Medicine

Shana Kelley holds appointments in the Departments of Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. The Kelley research group works in areas that span biophysical/bioanalytical chemistry, chemical biology, and nanotechnology, creating new biomedical tools to combat disease, develop disease therapies, and promote wellness. Kelley, who joined Northwestern in fall 2021, is also a member of the faculty of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute. An inventor on more than 50 patents issued worldwide, she has founded four life sciences companies and serves as president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Chicago. Recently elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has earned other honors that include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She serves as associate editor for ACS Sensors and is a member of the editorial advisory boards of three scientific journals. Kelley received her PhD from the California Institute of Technology and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute.

Abel N. Kho
Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) and Preventive Medicine (Health and Biomedical Informatics), Feinberg School of Medicine; Director, Center for Health Information Partnerships; and Director, Institute for Augmented Intelligence in Medicine

In his research, Abel Kho focuses on integrating diverse data (e.g., electronic health records, administrative data, geospatial data) for a range of health applications, including high-throughput phenotyping, cohort discovery estimating population-level disease burden, and quality improvement. He has served as the principal investigator for several regional or national projects, such as the ONC-funded Chicago Health IT Regional Extension Center, the Chicago Area Patient Centered Outcomes Research Network, and the Health Hearts in the Heartland consortium within the EvidenceNOW initiative. He is an internationally recognized expert in privacy preserving record linkage, publishing the first large-scale, real-world application of this method, which now underpins data linkage for NIH’s N3C and All of Us Research Programs. Kho received his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin, completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and completed an NLM/NIH fellowship in medical informatics at the Regenstrief Institute in Indiana. He is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics and recipient of the Donald A.B. Lindbergh Award for Innovation in Informatics. 

John Rogers (25 P)
Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurological Surgery (and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, and Dermatology by courtesy), McCormick School of Engineering, Feinberg School of Medicine, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Director, Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics

John Rogers is an electronic materials scientist with wide-ranging interests in bio-integrated systems that have the potential to address grand challenges in human health. Over an academic career of 20 years, he has published more than 800 papers, served as an inventor on more than 100 patents, and launched several successful technology companies. More than 200 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows have passed through his group, 117 of whom currently are faculty members at top universities around the world. Rogers’s work has been recognized by many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Lemelson–MIT Prize, the Smithsonian Award for American Ingenuity in the Physical Sciences, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is one of roughly two dozen individuals in history to have been elected to all three national academies: the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. Rogers received undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rogers started his career at Bell Laboratories and then spent 13 years on the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before moving into his current position at Northwestern in 2016.

Douglas E. Vaughan
Irving S. Cutter Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Physician in Chief, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Douglas Vaughan focuses on aging, cardiovascular disease, genetics, and experimental therapeutics. His primary clinical interest is in adult cardiovascular disease, and over his career, he has concentrated on managing and treating patients with coronary artery disease. His investigative focus involves the mammalian plasminogen activator system and its role in cardiovascular disease and aging. At Northwestern, Vaughan directs the recently created Potocsnak Longevity Institute, and he contributes to numerous campus initiatives in training and investigation. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Before arriving at Northwestern in 2008, he was a professor of medicine and pharmacology; the C. Sidney Burwell Professor of Medicine; chief, division of cardiovascular medicine; and physician in chief, the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his MD from and trained in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed his specialty training in adult cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.