Gillis Named Chair of Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering


Kevin D. Gillis

Professor Kevin Gillis was named department chair for Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering (BBCE) at the College of Engineering by Interim Dean Noah Manring. His role as department chair began Oct. 1, 2020. Gillis served as the department’s interim chair for about a year prior to being named chair.

Gillis has many previous leadership roles and experiences to rely upon moving forward as department chair. This includes being the chair of faculty search committees, the Engineering Policy Committee, and a Columbia-based robotics team named Army Ants.

“I learned a surprising amount about community engagement and leadership while running Army Ants,” Gillis said. “This group is a fairly large and complex high school robotics team that is part of the outreach mission of MU.”

Gillis wants the department to continue growing its reputation for quality and innovation in teaching and research. Additionally, he plans to seek input from faculty and other stakeholders to develop a departmental strategic plan that will set specific goals.

He also wants to the department to continue seeking interdisciplinary research projects with other campus units.

“There are opportunities within food science and watershed modeling with the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources,” Gillis said, “Opportunities also lie in cardiovascular research initiatives, sustainable energy and strengthening our ties with the MU Research Reactor.”

The current research strengths of the department, according to Gillis, would blend well with collaborative research projects within the College of Engineering as well. These strengths include:

  • Food process engineering.
  • Materials for energy production, conversion and storage.
  • Water resource planning and materials for water treatment.
  • Bio-material and bio-device interfaces.
  • Regenerative medicine.
  • Neuroengineering

About Gillis

Neuroengineering is how Gillis broadly describes his research area. Neuroengineering is the use of engineering tools to better understand the brain and treat neurological disorders. His technical focuses are biomedical engineering, electrophysiology and bio-micro electro-mechanical systems (BioMEMS).

“I have been working with faculty in the BBCE department and across campus to pursue collaborations and funding opportunities in this area (neuroengineering),” Gillis said. “Both neuroengineering and cardiovascular engineering fit well within the NextGen Precision Health Initiative on campus with the School of Medicine.”

Gillis earned a BA from St. Louis University, while earning a BS, MS and DSc from Washington University in St. Louis. He has a joint appointment in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology at the MU School of Medicine. He also is an investigator at the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and is the director of the campus Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program.

Visit the Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering’s webpage for information about programs and current faculty.



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