UCI News

Bruce Tromberg to lead the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

UCI professor has directed the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic since 2003

September 6, 2018
Bruce Tromberg to lead the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Bruce Tromberg, director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic and professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at UCI, will become the second director of the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering early next year. ©2018 Paul R. Kennedy

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 6, 2018 – Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic and professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at the University of California, Irvine, has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health to head the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, NIBIB was formed in 2000 to spur the invention and implementation of new technologies to research, diagnose and treat human diseases. It’s one of 27 institutes and centers under the NIH, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tromberg will take on the role of NIBIB’s second director in early 2019.

“The selection of Professor Tromberg to lead this vital federal organization is a tribute to his leading role in the advancement of a new and promising field of healthcare delivery,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “He has brought great credit to himself and the university with his pioneering research and medical innovations.”

Renowned in biophotonics, Tromberg holds dual appointments in UCI’s biomedical engineering and surgery departments. As director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, he oversees the development, application and dissemination of optical technologies in biology and medicine.

“Bruce brings substantial experience in biophotonics and has demonstrated his commitment to state-of-the-art imaging and bioengineering technologies through his leadership on numerous advisory committees, including the NIBIB National Advisory Council,” said NIH director Francis S. Collins, Ph.D. “We look forward to having him join the NIH to guide NIBIB as they continue to develop and leverage biotechnologies to advance human health.”

Tromberg will manage NIBIB’s $378 million annual budget. While a portion of that is allocated to research labs at the NIH, a greater part funds more than 800 active grants awarded to universities around the world.

In addition, Tromberg will supervise about 230 employees who conduct or support R&D of new biomedical imaging and bioengineering technologies and techniques to improve the detection, treatment and prevention of disease. NIBIB also sponsors multidisciplinary studies in the physical, mathematical and computational sciences.

“I am grateful to UCI for giving me the opportunity to pursue wide-ranging research and leadership experiences at the interface between physical sciences, engineering, biology and medicine,” Tromberg said. “This has been the best possible preparation for my new role as NIBIB director.”

The Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic is a free-standing research and clinical center with 22 faculty members from more than 10 academic departments and four UCI schools (engineering, medicine, biological sciences and physical sciences).

Since his appointment as director in 2003, Tromberg has helped expand the BLIMC’s scope to approximately 200 scientists, staff and students engaged in basic research and technology development, clinical translation and commercialization. These programs are facilitated, in part, by a multidisciplinary clinic that treats some 3,000 patients per year and manages about 30 clinical protocols. In addition, the BLIMC photonics incubator has 12 affiliated companies and has generated more than $55 million in patent royalty revenue for the university.

As a UCI faculty member, Tromberg has contributed to the establishment and growth of several major campus units, including the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and UCI Applied Innovation, as well as the Convergence Optical Sciences Initiative.

He has been principal investigator for over $45 million in sponsored research projects and has trained more than 70 graduate students and fellows with expertise in subjects ranging from physics and biomedical engineering to pharmacology and neuroscience. In 2005, he co-founded Modulated Imaging Inc., a BLIMC spinoff that develops imaging devices for assessing and managing diabetic foot and vascular diseases.

About the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering: NIBIB’s mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. It supports emerging technology R&D within its internal laboratories and through grants, collaborations and training. For more information on NIBIB, visit www.nibib.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health: The NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, see www.nih.gov.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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