Assistant Professor Juan Jiménez of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received an Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), awarded to early career professionals to promote career development in the field of biomedical engineering. Dr. Jiménez was awarded the honor due to his impressive body of work related to biomedical engineering.
Dr. Jiménez was initially attracted to the field of biomedical engineering as a Princeton Ph.D. student in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering while attending an American Physical Society meeting, where he learned how fluid flow played a vital role in the development of cardiovascular disease. He was immediately intrigued about the possibility of applying his work in fundamental fluid dynamics to understanding cardiovascular disease.
During his post-doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, he studied the influence of fluid flow on the endothelium within the context of biomedical devices, or stents. He also received a prestigious K-25 NIH Career Award that provided protected time for coursework in vascular and molecular biology. His research has focused on merging concepts from biology and fluid dynamics to study fluid-relevant diseases.
For example, Dr. Jiménez introduced aerodynamic concepts into cardiovascular stent design to study thrombosis and cell migration. He also studied how fluid flow impacts lymphatic vessel development and lymph transport, and the potential role of blood flow in cerebral aneurysm development.
Dr. Jiménez’s laboratory utilizes molecular biology and computational and experimental fluid dynamic tools to tackle difficult questions related to disease and the effects of fluid flow. In the context of stents, by streamlining stent struts, the endothelial cell phenotype was rescued in vitro to an anti-thrombotic phenotype, thrombi formation was mitigated, and wound healing enhanced, with potential implications for improved clinical outcome with a streamlined stent design.
In the lymphatic system his research showed that fluid flow is necessary for the development of valves and identified key genes in this process. He is presently investigating lymph transport in mouse models of lymphedema, a multifactorial debilitating condition.
As a postdoctoral fellow and now as a junior faculty member at UMass Amherst, Dr. Jiménez has mentored graduate and undergraduate students that have further pursued more advanced training in biomedical engineering and medicine.
The Mission of the BMES is to build and support the biomedical engineering community with activities designed to communicate recent advances, discoveries, and inventions; promote education and professional development; and integrate the perspectives of the academic, medical, governmental, and business sectors.
The award received by Dr. Jiménez will be announced at the Health Disparities Session at the BMES Annual Meeting, between October 5 and 8, in Minneapolis. (July 2016)