Murray Sachs of
on his 25 years at the helm:
How has the department changed since you arrived in 1970?
SACHS: The program has expanded enormously. When I came on board, we had seven full-time faculty. Now we have 24—seven of them based at Homewood and 17 in East Baltimore. We added a master’s program in 1972 and an undergraduate major in 1980. Our Ph.D. program has grown from four to five students per year to 120 total. But for me personally, my proudest accomplishment as chair has been the Whitaker Institute and the very close relationships we have developed with both Engineering and Medicine.
BME bridges the two, doesn’t it?
SACHS: Yes, but we’ve also proven that BME is real engineering—which the other departments were once reluctant to accept. When I came here you could not get a joint appointment in another engineering department. They looked down their noses at BME. Now every one of them, with the possible exception of Civil, has a bio program of one kind or another. They get our students who are the best bar none in the University. That’s another major change.
Has the faculty’s research changed at all over the years?
SACHS: Early on, they were primarily interested in basic studies of the heart and nervous system, in vestibular control and in the auditory system, my own area. Now they are involved throughout the body, working at the molecular level. At one time, we did very little applied research, but that’s changing too.
**Murray Sachs stepped down as director of Biomedical Engineering in 2007. The current director is Elliot R. McVeigh.