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Laura E. Niklason Is Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

February 07, 2020

Laura E. Niklason, PhD, MD, Nicholas Greene Professor of Anesthesiology and professor of biomedical engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), which cites her contributions to research in cardiovascular tissue engineering, lung regeneration, and biomedical imaging. 

Niklason is among 87 new members elected to the academy. She will be formally inducted during a ceremony at NAE's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30. Niklason’s research is focused on creating engineered blood vessels and lung tissue using bioreactors, with the eventual goal of providing new ways to treat patients, including those with kidney failure or heart disease, or in need of certain organ transplants.

Niklason, who joined the Yale faculty in 2006, founded Humacyte, a biotechnology company designed to bring tissue-engineered cardiovascular products to the clinic. Her engineered blood vessels are currently in clinical trials and are the first engineered tissue of their kind to be studied in a Phase III trial.  

Jay Humphrey, PhD, chair and John C. Malone Professor of Biomedical Engineering, says the honor is well deserved and describes Niklason as a “pioneer in her field, particularly with her work in vascular and lung engineering.” 

In 2014, Niklason was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors and she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine the following year. Among other honors, Time Magazine cited Niklason’s development of an engineered lung as one of the “50 Best Inventions of 2010," the Breakthrough Innovators Award from Popular Mechanics in 2011 celebrated her “off the shelf” tissue-engineered vascular grafts, and she was cited for Technological Innovation by Discover Magazine.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Submitted by Robert Forman on February 07, 2020