BioB.S. Saint Francis College (now the University of Saint Francis), 1986Ph.D. University of Arizona, 1993Post-Doc University of Vermont, 1994-1997
"We work to understand and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and to better train the next generation of engineers and clinicians."William H. Guilford, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Will Guilford uses molecular biomechanics and engineering design to better understand and better prevent the movement of single cells and the spread of drug-resistant pathogens. He attended Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne Indiana where he double-majored in Biology and Chemistry. He subsequently studied Physiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and under the direction of Robert W. Gore (Emeritus) investigated the mechanics of ateriole-interstitium interactions. Will completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont with renowned biophysicist Dr. David M. Warshaw, studying the mechanics of smooth and skeletal muscle myosins using a laser trap transducer. He began in 1997 his faculty appointment at the University of Virginia in the School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Will's research goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which cells move. His lab measures the mechanics of these processes at the level of individual molecules using a laser trap as an important experimental tool. With a laser trap, small translucent particles can be captured and held in three-dimensional space. The laser trap may also be used to measure the elasticity, distance moved, or force generated by single protein molecules. Will is currently focused on studying the movement between and invasion of cells by intracellular pathogens. His lab developed a novel experimental platform combining the laser trap with the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii that allows them to study the biomechanics and coordination of molecular motors inside the living cell. His lab also works with physicians in Infectious Disease to design means for preventing the spread of pathogens within patient populations.
Will recently served as Director of Educational Innovation in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In that role he oversaw the online educational programs of the School (12th ranked nationally), and the School's experiential education programs.
Most recently Will was appointed Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Engineering. There he seeks to advance the use of high-impact practices, to inspire students to engage outside of the classroom, and to support students in all ways to achieve their goals. Will has received numerous awards for teaching and for service to students, including the Harold S. Morton Award for Teaching, and the 2013 UVA Distinguished Professor Award. He is continually developing improved pedagogical approaches, particularly in the area of design, and better approaches to learning assessment. He also directs UVa's Beckman Scholars Program, and the BME Clinical Scholars program funded by the NIH.