Rashid Bashir elected to National Academy of Medicine

10/9/2023 Liz Ahlberg Touchstone

Rashid Bashir, the dean of The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Written by Liz Ahlberg Touchstone

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Rashid Bashir, dean of The Grainger College of Engineering and professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. A pioneer at the intersection of engineering and medicine, Bashir was elected “for seminal contributions and visionary leadership in micro and nanoscale biosensors and diagnostics, bioengineering early detection of infection and sepsis, and education in engineering-based medicine with helping to establish the world's first engineering-based medical school at UIUC.”

Election to NAM “is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service,” according to the academy. 

Bashir’s research focuses on integrating engineering and technology with biology, from the molecular scale to tissues and systems. Among other innovations, his group has developed various lab-on-a-chip technologies and point-of-care diagnostic devices, leading to the creation of three startup companies. His micro and nanoscale technologies have driven the development of biodevices for rapid tests that can detect disease from bodily fluids – even early signs of sepsis, notoriously difficult to monitor – as well as miniature biological robots for applications in medicine and engineering. 

“Dean Bashir’s career is a highlight reel of innovations, inventions and ideas that are reshaping and reimagining medicine and health care in our society,” Chancellor Robert Jones said. “His election to the National Academy of Medicine is well-deserved and all of us at Illinois are excited to celebrate this latest milestone with him.”

In addition to his research, Bashir has held several key administrative roles at the university, including serving as the director of the Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, head of the department of bioengineering, executive associate dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and, currently, dean of Grainger Engineering. 

Bashir was integral in the formation, curriculum development and early leadership of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the nation’s first engineering-based college of medicine. A partnership between the U. of I. and Carle Health Systems, CI MED has established a new paradigm for educating physician-innovators. 

“Rashid Bashir has devoted his career to finding innovations at the intersection of engineering and medicine. He has advanced medicine through this important lens, both in his research as well as in his leadership roles by helping launch CI MED and leading Grainger Engineering, one of the top engineering schools in the world,” said Mark Cohen, the dean of CI MED. 

Bashir earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1992. He worked in the semiconductor industry before starting his academic career at Purdue, then held visiting positions at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School before joining the Illinois faculty in 2007. Among other honors, he is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 

At Illinois, he has led National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation training grants merging engineering and biology. He also played a foundational role in launching the Mayo-Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare, as well as the Healthcare Engineering Systems Center and Jump ARCHES partnerships with OSF Healthcare in Grainger Engineering. 

“Professor Bashir has been a true pioneer in the field of bioengineering and medicine. His research on bio-nanotechnologies at the interface of biology and engineering has been highly impactful and addressed important biomedical problems that involve infectious disease, diagnostics and cancer,” said Mark Anastasio, head of the bioengineering department at Illinois. “We are honored and grateful to call him one of our own.” 

Editor's note: To contact Rashid Bashir, email engineering-dean@illinois.edu.

The original article can be read here.

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This story was published October 9, 2023.