It has been a busy few months for Dr. Nancy Pleshko.
First, the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Bioengineering was elected Fellow by the American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering. She was joined by 173 colleagues in being elected to the College of Fellows, which comprises the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country.
AIMBE Fellows have been awarded the Nobel Prize, the Presidential Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Technology and Innovation. Many also are members of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Shortly after, the Suffern, New York-native was named Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Temple University College of Engineering. Dr. Pleshko takes over for Dr. Saroj Biswas, who shepherded the college's research enterprise during a time of impressive growth and impact, with six faculty earning a record number of National Institutes of Health R01 awards in two years, and four faculty earning National Science Foundation CAREER Awards since 2019.
"I'm extremely excited to step into this role and recognize the energy and talent that has enabled that growth," Dr. Pleshko said. "One of my top priorities is to look at the wide range of expertise within the college, and to harness that diversity into collective energy to support new initiatives. I hope to identify areas of synergism that can be leveraged to larger scale funding opportunities. There is also a great deal of nascent expertise in emerging areas, such as engineering education, that should be nurtured and expanded."
As Dr. Pleshko described her passion for studying spectroscopy and biomechanics, a clear connection between engineering research and Temple's mission emerged.
"Engineering is a pathway for providing both opportunity and discovery," she said. "Our work combines basic and applied concepts, and has been at the forefront of numerous innovations, including powerful new technologies, infrastructure improvements, and solutions to medical challenges."
An educator at heart, Dr. Pleshko was quick to note the collaborative focus of the work, as well.
"Engineers are, as a group, very application-oriented so that involvement in innovative research is central to the curriculum. In fact, we have a terrific track record of involving our undergraduate students in research labs. I am excited to see that continue."
Alyssa Veneziale, a health professions major and undergraduate researcher in Dr. Pleshko's lab, is one such example.
"Dr. Pleshko believes in all of us. She is my PI first, but she is also my mentor and someone that I know is invested in not only the success of my project, but also my individual success," Alyssa said. "Dr. Pleshko has created a workplace where we all feel motivated and feel like we belong."