Laura Niklason Elected To The National Academy of Engineering


Laura Niklason, the Nicholas M. Greene Professor in Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Cited for her contributions to research in cardiovascular tissue engineering, lung regeneration, and biomedical imaging, Niklason was among 87 new members elected to the academy. Niklason will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30. 

Niklason’s research is focused on creating engineered blood vessels and lung tissue using bioreactors, with the eventual goal of providing new ways to treat patients, including those with kidney failure, heart disease, or in need of certain organ transplants.

Jay Humphrey, John C. Malone Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department, said the honor is well-deserved and described Niklason as a “pioneer in her field, particularly with her work in vascular and lung engineering.” 

“The Department of Biomedical Engineering congratulates our good friend and colleague Laura Niklason on her election to the National Academy of Engineering," Humphrey said. “It’s an honor that’s well-deserved. Her work has led to new breakthroughs in regenerative medicine and will lead to new therapies for patients in desperate need of new treatment options.”

Niklason, who has been with Yale since 2006, founded Humacyte, a biotechnology company designed to bring tissue-engineered cardiovascular products to the clinic. Her engineered blood vessels are currently in clinical trials and are the first engineered tissue of its kind to be studied in a Phase III trial.  

In 2014, Niklason was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors and she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine the following year. Among other honors, Time Magazine cited Niklason’s development of an engineered lung as one of the “50 Best Inventions of 2010," the Breakthrough Innovators Award from Popular Mechanics in 2011 for her “off the shelf” tissue-engineered vascular grafts, and a Technological Innovation from Discover Magazine.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.  Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Read more about Niklason's work here, in the most recent issue of Yale Engineering Magazine.