Natalia Trayanova named inaugural Sachs Professor as BME celebrates 50 years
The Johns Hopkins University Department of Biomedical Engineering, consistently ranked as the nation’s leading program in this discipline, celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 4 with a daylong symposium that included the installation of Natalia Trayanova as the inaugural Murray B. Sachs Professor.
“This occasion not only recognizes Murray and Natalia, two accomplished members of our faculty, but also the legacy of our entire Biomedical Engineering Department and the collaboration between the engineering and medical schools,” said Nicholas P. Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering.
In announcing Trayanova’s appointment as the Murray B. Sachs Professor last month, Jones said, “Unlike most professorships, this endowment was not created by a single donor but through gifts from over 70 individuals—including alumni, faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins schools of Engineering and Medicine—who wished to honor Murray’s legacy. I am thrilled,” he said, “to say that everyone involved in selecting Natalia for this honor, including Murray, believes she is a terrifically appropriate recipient, as she embodies the spirit of excellence that has always been the hallmark of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.”
Trayanova, who joined Johns Hopkins in 2006, is the school’s first female endowed professor. She oversees a research program focused on understanding the normal and pathological electrophysiological and electromechanical behavior of the human heart. Her emphasis is on the mechanism for cardiac arrhythmogenesis, cardiac electromechanical interactions and the improvement of the clinical therapies of defibrillation, infarct-related ventricular ablation and cardiac resynchronization therapy using a personalized approach.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering, founded in its earliest incarnation as a division in 1962, was established as an outgrowth of promising cross-collaborative research that began in the 1930s. That early work led to the invention of the first cardiac defibrillator by electrical engineer and School of Engineering Dean William B. Kouwenhoven.
Murray B. Sachs was one of the formal department’s first hires, in 1970, and he went on to serve as director from 1991 to 2007. Under Sachs, Biomedical Engineering expanded its operations greatly, including the establishment in 2001 of the Whitaker Biomedical Institute, a joint venture between the schools of Medicine and Engineering. Sachs maintains an active role in the department as a University Distinguished Service Professor.