University of Maine Professor David J. Neivandt has been named director of the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE), effective Sept. 1. Neivandt was named to the post by UMaine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker.
Neivandt replaces Carol Kim, who was named UMaine Vice President for Research Sept. 1.
“I am very pleased that professor Neivandt has agreed to step into this important position on short notice,” says Hecker. “He was the unanimous choice among the leadership team. David has a thorough understanding of GSBSE and is well-positioned to build on the foundation established by Carol Kim.”
“I am delighted to assume the role of director of the GSBSE,” Neivandt says. “The program is unique in its interinstitutional nature, and exists solely to educate and train graduate students in the field of biomedical sciences and engineering. These students are the future of the state of Maine, and of the nation — I am honored to serve both them, and the University of Maine.”
Neivandt has been a member of the GSBSE faculty since it was created, he is the inaugural chair of the steering committee, and has chaired the admission committee since its formation. GSBSE is a unique graduate program that includes the University of Maine as the Ph.D.-granting institution and five cooperating academic and research institutions in Maine. GSBSE students conduct research in such areas as molecular and cellular biology, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and genomics, toxicology and neuroscience.
Neivandt, a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering, came to the University of Maine in 2001.
From 1998–2001, Neivandt was an Oppenheimer Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where his research focused on interfacial laser spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne in 1998.
In his research, Neivandt uses traditional and novel spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to study the surfaces of materials. He focuses on the determination of the interfacial orientation and conformation of protein and lipid species, including the study of protein transport across cell membranes, and studies the gelation, dispersion and phase separation of natural and synthetic polymeric species.
Neivandt’s pulp and paper-related research has included the creation of biodegradable grease-resistant coatings, carbon nanofibers from lignin, and retention-aid systems. His work with protein transport is shedding light on how cell membranes interact with specific proteins. Understanding the process could lead to the design of therapeutics that could control diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
In 2005, and again in 2010, Neivandt received the College of Engineering Dean’s Excellence Award. In 2006 he received the college’s Early Career Research Award.