Rice University bioengineer Rebekah Drezek has been appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Drezek, a professor and associate chair of bioengineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering, assumes her appointment immediately and will serve on the committee through 2022.
Drezek will work with fellow committee members to provide advice on matters pertinent to NIH responsibilities in the conduct and support of biomedical research, medical science and biomedical communications. The committee offers recommendations on program development, resource allocation, NIH administrative regulation and policy and other specific or general aspects of NIH policy. This includes reviewing grant applications and cooperative agreements for research and training for projects that could make valuable contributions to human knowledge.
“Imaging technologies and biomedical engineering are playing a progressively significant role in the future of biomedical research and I am excited to have the opportunity to provide the perspective of a bioengineer to the board,” Drezek said.
A member of the Rice faculty since 2002, Drezek develops photonics and nanomaterial-based technologies for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Drezek’s research has been funded by the NIH, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, among others. She has served as thrust director for the NSF Engineering Research Center on Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment and program director for an NIH-funded Ph.D. training program in nanobiology, and she has led multiple collaborative projects with Texas Medical Center institutions.
Drezek’s research has been published in 118 papers and has led to four patents. Her notable awards include selection to MIT Technology Review magazine’s TR100 list of Innovators Under 35, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Becton Dickinson Career Achievement Award and the Beckman Young Investigator Award. She was recognized as a U.S. Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar for her research on breast cancer and was the first bioengineer to receive the American Society for Photobiology Research Award.
Drezek is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a recipient of the Adolph Lomb Medal from the Optical Society.
Author: CHRISTI VASQUEZ