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Noted Cardiovascular Researcher joins OHSU to launch new department

   Portland, Ore.

Emory University's Stephen R. Hanson will lead innovative new graduate degree program at OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering.

After a yearlong search, Oregon Health & Science University has recruited an internationally known researcher and entrepreneur to head its new Department of Biomedical Engineering at the OGI School of Science & Engineering -- the first department of its kind in Oregon.

Stephen R. Hanson, Ph.D., comes to OGI from Atlanta's Emory University, where he had been on the faculty since 1989, most recently as a professor of biomedical engineering and an adjunct professor of medicine. Operated jointly with Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory's biomedical engineering department is ranked by US News & World Report as sixth in the nation and is fifth in terms of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Hanson played a key role in the creation of that department, and OHSU officials labeled his appointment a milestone in their bioscience research and commercialization efforts.

"OGI is extremely fortunate to have attracted a researcher, academic leader and entrepreneur of Steve Hanson's caliber to help establish our biomedical engineering department," said OGI Dean Ed Thompson, Ph.D. "Steve's arrival truly marks the dawn of the biomedical engineering era at OHSU. As we begin to welcome graduate students into the program, and as we roll out new commercial technologies based on our discoveries, we can expect some exciting times ahead. Steve's vision will shape much of OHSU's collaborative research in this burgeoning field."

Dan Dorsa, Ph.D., OHSU's vice president for research, agreed. "Steve's research in the use of bioengineering approaches to treat hematologic and vascular disorders forges the immediate bridge between engineering and medicine that we had hoped to create with this new program," he said.

A 53-year-old Montana native, Hanson has had a dual interest in medicine and technology throughout his career. A specialist in developing devices and therapies to treat conditions of the blood and circulatory system, he has authored or co-authored 180 published research papers, delivered more than 200 conference presentations and held numerous advisory positions on scientific and government boards. He holds 16 patents and has founded three private companies to commercialize the results of his research.

Hanson earned a master's degree from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of Washington, both in chemical engineering. As a student and postdoctoral researcher, he developed interests in hematology, biomaterials and cardiovascular bioengineering that led to a position on the faculty at UW's medical school and then to a position as a staff scientist in molecular and experimental medicine at Scripps Research Institute. He joined Emory in 1989, moving to the new biomedical engineering program in 1999.

"A world of opportunity in biomedical engineering awaits OHSU and OGI," Hanson said. "This institution is beautifully positioned to achieve significant measurable successes in a broad range of research areas, and to educate a new generation of biomedical professionals trained across disciplines to make a profound difference in people's lives. I am truly delighted to be joining this organization at this exciting point in its development, because I know together we can really get some important things done."

Added Dorsa: "Steve's research is ideally suited for its initial West Campus home, since it will involve collaborations with scientists at OGI and the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Steve is also an established entrepreneur, having multiple patents and several startup companies to his credit. This will further energize OHSU's efforts to commercialize its discoveries."

About the OGI School of Science & Engineering at OHSU The OGI School of Science & Engineering ( offers graduate education and advanced research in computer science and engineering, environmental and biomolecular systems, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and management in science and technology. Formerly known as the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology, OGI merged with Oregon Health & Science University in 2001, becoming one of OHSU's four schools. OGI has nearly 100 full-time and adjunct faculty members, nearly 600 full- and part-time students, and an annual research budget of approximately $18 million.
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