Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Wolchok, who was recently promoted to Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Wolchok has been with the Biomedical Engineering Department since its inception, and was recently awarded the 2017 Departmental award for Outstanding Achievement in Service.

Dr. Wolchok’s research interests include biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, bioreactors and the influence of mechanical force on cell behavior, as well as the design of medical devices. His research and educational programs are currently funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. In an article in the Arkansas Engineer, he explained that he makes “‘widgets and devices that allow us to understand the behavior of cells.'” Article writer Camilla Shumaker added that, “Wolchok looks at what happens when tissues in our bodies are damaged, and he investigates ways to prevent or repair that damage.”

During his time at the U of A, Dr. Wolchok has also been a mentor to many biomedical engineering students. In 2015, for instance, he supervised the honors thesis of Anna Arnaud, who was awarded a fellowship to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In her thesis, she explored ways to promote muscle regeneration after volumetric skeletal muscle loss. Said Arnaud in a 2015 Newswire article, “…[M]y one on one research with Professor Wolchok has been crucial. He knew that fully investing in research would help me to accomplish my goals, and I’m very grateful for that.” Another example is 2013 graduate Katelin Cherry, whose research on the creation of a biomaterial from skeletal cells was overseen by Dr. Wolchok. In a blog post for the Honors College that discussed the project, Cherry wrote, “Dr. Jeffrey Wolchok, an assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering, was my mentor for this project. He has a strong background in tissue engineering and has published papers on creating a cell derived extracellular matrix. His knowledge in this field, as well as in the process of conducting research, was very helpful to me while I was completing my project. ”

Dr. Wolchok has also made an impact on younger students through his work helping to run the Engineering Summer Academy at the University of Arkansas. In a 2016 Newswire article, he explained, “I always try to integrate my research and K-12 outreach. Research fuels the outreach, and the outreach gives me fresh perspectives and ideas about areas of research.” What’s more, he said, “Outreach to K-12 has become exceedingly crucial in the science and engineering fields. The overall recruiting of scientists and engineers has always been one major challenge in colleges and universities.”

“Kudos to Dr. Wolchok on the promotion! Jeff’s commitment to student success has been very instrumental to departmental growth. His collaborative nature with not just researchers within the department but also with faculty in other units is expected to contribute to an increase in the biomedical engineering footprint at the University,” added Dr. Raj Rao, professor and department head of biomedical engineering.