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2004-2005

WPI Bioengineering Institute Appoints New Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/April 1, 2005
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. -- April 1, 2005 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute Provost and Senior Vice President Carol Simpson today announced the appointment of W. Grant McGimpsey as the new director of the university's Bioengineering Institute (BEI), an interdisciplinary research and development organization dedicated to the development of medical and life sciences technologies. A leading nanoscience researcher, academic and entrepreneur, McGimpsey rises to the post after serving as the organization's associate director of business development. Former director Timothy R. Gerrity is moving on to launch a BEI-developed, Worcester-based company that will facilitate technology transfer.

As BEI director, McGimpsey's responsibilities will include promoting the development of medical technologies through basic and applied research and subsequent commercialization of these technologies through company formation and out-licensing. His role as director also includes promoting partnerships among academia, businesses, governments, and regional economic development organizations.

McGimpsey also serves as director of BEI's Center for Molecular Engineering, which is investigating the link between molecular engineering and biological systems to facilitate the self assembly of biomolecules into complex structures capable of carrying out highly sophisticated functions, including energy conversion and data storage.

"Grant's interest in the Bioengineering Institute goes back to its inception," said Simpson. "Now that the organization is maturing beyond its start-up phase, I look forward to working with him as he leads it to new levels of collaboration and success."

Since its founding in 2002, BEI has created the nucleus of an emerging medical device cluster in central Massachusetts. It has been awarded more than $8 million in funding, introduced the Med-Tech Grand Rounds and the Morning Report programs, and developed a medical device certificate program in partnership with MassMEDIC. The institute has established four centers, each with a bioengineering focus, to deliver many potential applications, employing more than 25 research scientists, postgraduate and graduate-level researchers, and support staff. As a group, BEI and its members have formed a regionalized infrastructure for design, engineering, finance, management, manufacturing and marketing.

"The Bioengineering Institute is an extremely important venture not only for WPI, but also for the life sciences community of central Massachusetts," noted Dennis D. Berkey, president of WPI. "After several years of ramping up, BEI is now starting to hit its stride with promising research discoveries, growing partnerships with area companies, and the impending construction at Gateway Park of a new building for the organization. We are supremely confident in Grant's leadership during this exciting period for BEI."

In addition to his duties at BEI, McGimpsey is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at WPI, where he joined the faculty in 1989. He is leading extensive research programs in the areas of nanoscience, chemical sensors, and thin films. He is also an adjunct research professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where he is working with UMMS researchers to develop methods of preventing infection caused by surgical implants.

He has obtained more than $3.3 million in external research funding, and has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and patents. He has served as a scientific consultant on projects for Bayer, Polaroid, and Aspen Systems, and is on the Steering Committee for the Massachusetts Nanotechnology Initiative. In 2002, he received the WPI Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship.

McGimpsey has also held visiting appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Radiation Chemistry in Muelheim, Germany, and in the Molecular Medicine program at UMMS, as well as a postdoctoral stint at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa.

A native of Canada, McGimpsey earned a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in chemistry from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He later earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He resides in Boylston, Mass., with his family.

About the WPI Bioengineering Institute

The WPI Bioengineering Institute (BEI) was founded in 2002 to stimulate job creation and economic prosperity in the region by providing innovative ways to convert research discoveries into new products and new companies. In addition, BEI helps technology companies conduct cost-effective research and development by making available the innovative intellectual resources of WPI's faculty and students.

BEI focuses on applied research as well as product development and commercialization through a network of universities, hospitals, research organizations, and technology companies. BEI is based at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., and draws from WPI's expertise in biosensing, wireless communication, bioimaging, bioprocessing, tissue engineering, information technology, and much more.