The Department was officially established in 2000 by the founding chair of the Department Dr. Van C. Mow. The Department offers educational programs leading to BS, MS, PhD degrees as well as MD - PhD and MS – MD degrees in collaboration with the Columbia University Irving Medical School.

Dear Friends of the Biomedical Engineering Department,

It is with great honor and enthusiasm that I write to you as the incoming chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Columbia University. I am privileged to be entrusted with this role, knowing that I have big shoes to fill, particularly considering the outstanding work and achievements of our former chair, Ed Guo, over the past six years.

Under Ed's exceptional leadership, our department has grown and flourished in numerous dimensions. We have witnessed an expansion in the number of faculty, along with the increasing quantity and quality of our undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. students. Our department's influence and presence across the university have expanded significantly, and, most importantly, the excellence and camaraderie within our department have thrived. Thanks to Ed's guidance, our BME department has attained a position among the top 10 ranked BME departments nationwide, and our BME family has grown stronger and more supportive of one another. Furthermore, Ed skillfully leveraged the challenges posed by COVID and racial tensions, turning them into opportunities to fortify our department. As a result, we now boast an active diversity, equity, and inclusion program that encompasses our entire department. Columbia BME has become a superior environment for work, learning, research, and social interaction, thanks to Ed's dedication and vision.

As I reflect on our current position and contemplate the future direction of our department, I am genuinely excited and grateful to find myself surrounded by a world-class faculty. Our faculty members are at the forefront of cutting-edge research in various realms of biomedical engineering, including tissue engineering, single-cell genomics, synthetic biology, advanced imaging in microscopy, ultrasonics, magnetic resonance, and biomedical applications of artificial intelligence. We are building upon our core strengths with the acquisition of a new NIH Training grant in Mechanobiology and the establishment of a new Center in the Neuroscience of Decision-Making, funded by the Air Force.

A department's success is contingent upon its staff, and we are fortunate to have the best staff on campus within Columbia BME. They exhibit exceptional care, efficiency, and are an integral part of our BME family. Our students, among the brightest minds globally, are truly remarkable. They are imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit and a genuine commitment to making a positive societal impact, whether in the realms of climate change or racial and cultural injustice. We are proud to contribute to their educational journey at the university level and eagerly anticipate witnessing their transformative influence on the world.

Nonetheless, we aspire to grow further, excel, and enhance our standing as a preeminent biomedical engineering department for education, research, translational science, and the engineering of a healthier humanity. There are exciting opportunities on the horizon as we look to expand our presence to the Manhattanville campus. This move will enable us to strengthen and foster collaborations with faculty members at the Zuckerman Institute, Columbia's Business School, as well as other departments within the School of Engineering and Columbia University's Irving Medical Center. Our goal is to position ourselves at the forefront of fundamental scientific discoveries and drive their translation to improve health and well-being across diverse populations worldwide.

I assure you that we will keep you informed about our progress and developments as we embark on these upcoming adventures. Moreover, I warmly extend an invitation to every one of you to join us on this remarkable journey. I am truly humbled and excited to be serving as the chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Columbia University. With your support, dedication, and collective efforts, I am confident that we will continue to thrive, achieve new heights of excellence, and make a lasting impact on the world.


Paul Sajda, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Radiology (Physics), and Electrical Engineering