Professor Mark Redfern Appointed Interim Department Chair of Bioengineering
Professor Mark Redfern has been appointed as Interim Chair of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, according to an announcement by Sanjeev G. Shroff, Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. Previously Redfern had served as the Swanson School's Associate Dean for Research (2008-2012) and Pitt’s Vice Provost for Research (2012-2017).
Redfern – who earned his PhD in bioengineering from the University of Michigan – began his Pitt career in 1988 as Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine, with appointments in Physical Therapy, Industrial Engineering, and Rehabilitation Science. He was among the pioneering faculty who helped to establish the Department of Bioengineering at Pitt in 1998, and as the inaugural Undergraduate Coordinator, he helped develop the BioE undergraduate program’s curriculum.
“The knowledge and experience Mark brings to this role will further help the department grow and contribute to the Swanson School’s continued interdisciplinary excellence,” Shroff said. “Mark is one of the most congenial, engaging, and supportive leaders who always focuses on the individual and maintains an open door to all. Please join me in congratulating Mark and thanking him for taking on this new responsibility.”
“The department is strong and has made significant strides under Professor’s Shroff leadership and so I'm looking forward to continuing its growth as the interim Chair,” Redfern said. “With the support and participation of the BioE faculty, I hope we can build on that momentum.”
Redfern is nationally and internationally known and respected for his research in the biodynamics of human movement and human factors engineering and leads the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory (HMBL). One of his long-standing research interests has been postural control and the rehabilitation of patients with balance disorders. By taking an engineering systems approach to modeling and understanding how various pathologies affect patients, Redfern and his colleagues at HMBL investigate interventions that can improve diagnosis and treatment. The influence of aging on balance control and the prevention of falls is of particular interest, with his long-standing NIH-funded work investigating sensory integration processes that underlie a person’s ability to maintain balance when standing and walking.
According to Shroff, Redfern is a dedicated and accomplished mentor, having served as primary advisor for ten PhD candidates and as a PhD committee member for 45 PhD candidates, all of whom are successful in academia, health care, or industry. He is currently the primary PhD mentor for Michelle Karabin, who recently won an F31 Predoctoral Fellowship from the NIH. Redfern has also formally and informally mentored several new and mid-career Pitt faculty members to advance their research and academic careers within the fields of human movement, balance, and therapy.
Throughout his tenure, Redfern has also been focused on developing novel diversity programs within engineering and the school. He helped develop and launch the bioengineering program at North Carolina A&T, a historically Black university and served as the Chair of the Internal Advisory Committee for the School's Pitt STRIVE program. HMBL hosts several of Swanson School URM students through internships and research, and Redfern mentored these students toward graduate education and career planning.