Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in BME

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is rooted in a dual culture of medicine and engineering that provides a unique environment for translational research, collaboration and education.

We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, inclusiveness and equity among faculty, students and staff. Read our Mission Statement for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

The BME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is comprised of leaders at all levels who are passionate about ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion are considered in all department activities. Faculty representatives serve as “DEI Representatives” on all major committees within the department. Postdoc, graduate and undergraduate representatives are nominated through local chapters of the Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers and other groups. Graduated committee members are invited to remain as alumni representatives. Meet the DEI Leadership Committee.

Leadership Committee

Mete Civelek

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering Resident Faculty, Center for Public Health Genomics
Mete Civelek uses big data analytics to understand the molecular pathways of disease and develops personalized medicine approaches to cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. He is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and a resident faculty at the Center for Public Health Genomics at the…

Silvia Salinas Blemker

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Silvia Blemker uses experimental and computational models to characterize the relationships between muscle structure, biomechanical properties, biology, and function in order to develop new treatments for musculoskeletal disease

Brian P. Helmke

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Brian Helmke researches the relationship between cell mechanics and cell function using new tools in materials science and molecular biology, with a focus on cardiovascular disease. His laboratory employs a multidisciplinary biomedical engineering approach to understand the relationship between intracellular mechanics and cell function.

Eli Zunder

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Eli Zunder analyzes stem cell fate using single cell mass cytometry and high-dimensional modeling of cell lineage trajectories. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from UCSF in 2009.


Lilly DeCostanza

lilly.deconstanza@virginia.edu is a PhD student in the Peirce-Cottler lab.

Catalina Alvarez 

aca9pw@virginia.edu is a PhD student in the Janes Lab.

Zehra Demir

Qkh9uu@virginia.edu is a PhD student in the Sheybani Lab.

Kris Rawls 

Alumni Representative, is a 2019 graduate from the Papin lab and a member of the Department's Alumni Advisory Board.

collage of colorful photographs of people and faces

Biomedical Engineering's Candid Conversations

An ongoing series of inclusive discussions about race, LGBTQ+ identity, disability and other identities, led by the graduate student chairs of the department's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee.

Candid Conversations in Biomedical Engineering