UC Irvine Names Founding Director of The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology

Steven C. George to drive strategic direction of the center

UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering has named Steven C. George, M.D., Ph.D., as the founding director of The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology.  George, who is currently The William J. Link Chair and Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UC Irvine, will begin this new position effective July 1, and will spearhead the development of a strategic plan to lead the center’s initiatives in cardiovascular research and training.
Founded in 2007, The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology supports a multidisciplinary center that focuses on heart and vascular diseases and advanced cardiovascular device technology, with strong collaboration among students, faculty, and experts in the cardiovascular field.

Although programs will be directed by UC Irvine’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, the center will integrate many disciplines, such as tissue engineering, materials science, computer science, and advanced imaging and microfabrication, all which may play a role in creating devices that can help treat cardiovascular diseases.

“Our research vision will broadly address structural cardiovascular disease, such as defective heart valves or vessels, by integrating technologies and expertise from numerous disciplines,” said George.  “We plan to create a rich partnership between engineering and medicine that will foster a dynamic training and research environment. Our focus will be on translating academic ideas to the private sector where a real impact on human health care can occur.”

George, who earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University in 1987, an M.D. in 1991 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1995 from the University of Washington, joined UC Irvine in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He became the director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering in 2000, and eventually the founding William J. Link Professor and Chair of the newly-formed Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2002. 

Under George’s leadership, the BME department has risen to 30th in the U.S.News and World Report's 2010 listing of America's Best Graduate Schools within the engineering specialty of biomedical/bioengineering, a 10-point jump from the 2009 rankings. In August 2008, BME’s undergraduate biomedical engineering program was accredited by ABET, Inc., which accredits degree programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, retroactive to Oct. 1, 2006, making it one of only two accredited bioengineering or biomedical engineering degree programs in California, and one of about 60 accredited in the United States.

“The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology is going to be a premier research facility that will support the advancement of interdisciplinary technology and innovative, practical solutions to fight cardiovascular disease,” said Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D., distinguished professor and dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  “We are very excited that Dr. George will be leading the development of this new school initiative.”

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation (NYSE: EW), based in Irvine, is the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring, with more than five decades of experience in partnering with clinicians to develop life-saving innovations.  The company supports advancements in knowledge and improvements in quality of life, focusing primarily upon cardiovascular disease and the communities where the company’s employees live and work.

“We are enthusiastic about the strategic direction that Dr. George will provide as we continue to develop The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology,” said Michael A. Mussallem, Edwards Lifesciences’ chairman and CEO.  “Having someone of Dr. George’s caliber at the helm of this center gives us great confidence that we will achieve our mission for the ultimate benefit of patients suffering from cardiovascular disease.”

The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology will be located in Engineering Hall, a new building on the UC Irvine campus scheduled for completion later this month.

A search for the new BME department chair will begin immediately. 

Media Contact:

Christy Boyer        
Director of Communications              
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UC Irvine
949-824-3962 (Office)               

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