Bioengineering professor receives lifetime achievement award

July 1, 2010 | Research, UToday
By Josh Martin

One might say that scholastic achievement has been the “backbone” of Dr. Vijay Goel’s academic career. This statement about the Distinguished University Professor of Bioengineering was reaffirmed recently when he received the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine’s (ISSLS) Wiltse Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Vijay Goel, center, received the Wiltse Lifetime Achievement Award from Robert Moore, secretary of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.

Dr. Vijay Goel, center, received the Wiltse Lifetime Achievement Award from Robert Moore, secretary of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.

Goel is the Endowed Chair and McMaster Gardner Professor of Orthopedic Bioengineering in the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine and co-director of the Engineering Center for Orthopedic Research Excellence at UT.

The annual award is given to scientists, clinicians and basic science researchers responsible for exceptional achievement in the field of spinal medicine, according to the group’s website. He received the award April 16 during the organization’s annual meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

Even though it is his third such award, having received two other recognitions for his lifetime of achievements from similar organizations, Goel said he felt surprised and blessed to have won the ISSLS prize after his first nomination.

“I never thought even for a second that I would get the award, especially at the first submission — so much so that I did not make any reservations to attend the Auckland meeting, being far away,” he said.

Goel has an internationally recognized 30-year academic career in bioengineering work on spinal diseases and mechanics, as well as orthopedic and dental biomechanics more broadly.

Early in his career, he was a pioneer of three-dimensional finite element modeling of orthopedic implant-constructs and studied their load-displacement behavior. He later developed finite element models of ligamentous spinal sections at the University of Iowa, where he established the Iowa Spine Research Center.

In 2000, he joined UT as professor and chair of bioengineering and helped build from the ground up the orthopedic departmental tract comprised of courses and labs. He also collaborated with the MUO Department of Orthopedic Surgery to establish the UT Spine Research Center.

Goel has authored more than 260 peer-reviewed articles as well as two textbooks and has delivered more than 450 presentations on scientific and clinical matters. He is also a member of the editorial boards of several prominent journals.

He continues to work on spinal implants and uses his finite elements method to spur commercialization and economic growth as a consultant and scientific adviser.

“Dr. Goel is one of our most accomplished faculty members. His contributions to the broader community through his work on the mobility of spine and the design of spinal implants is truly outstanding,” said Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering. “The ISLLS Lifetime Achievement Award is a significant celebration of his scholastic achievements.”

While at UT, Goel also has secured more than $19 million in extramural funding from national and international industries and federal and state agencies. One of his recent submissions to Ohio’s Third Frontier Ohio Research Scholar Program resulted in a grant award of $4.6 million that will allow UT to recruit another accomplished scholar in the area of spinal implants.

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