Welcome to Brown

Tejal A DesaiIt’s an especially exciting time at Brown and the School of Engineering. With a tradition of independent thought and academic excellence, the University is devoting focused attention and enhanced resources to growing research with the aim of strengthening contributions to society. Our engineering community has been making a significant impact through our research, and we’re poised to do more, accelerating inquiry and discovery where research, education, design and innovation intersect.

The quality of our education reflects the quality of our research. Brown University is preparing a new engineer – bold and broad-minded leaders bent on tackling global challenges in energy, the environment, human health, and economic development. We empower students with subject area depth and real-world experiences, grounded in Brown’s rigorous and flexible Open Curriculum. We offer innovative master’s programs such as the joint Brown/RISD Design Engineering program, and our doctoral programs attract creative thought leaders working to rethink, reshape and refine their fields, and in the process forward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

We benefit from deep connections with Brown’s exceptional academic departments, schools and centers, including with the Warren Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health, as well as with external collaborators across sectors.

Finally, I know from my own experience as a student, teacher, colleague and parent how important it is to be and feel welcomed as a full member of a community in order to thrive. A key priority for me as dean is continuing to diversify the school’s student body at all levels while recruiting and retaining more faculty from historically underrepresented groups – and cultivating an inclusive environment in which the very best ideas and scholarship can flourish.

We welcome you to learn more about who we are and what we offer, and to join us as we engineer solutions for societal change.

Warm regards,

Tejal A. Desai
Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering

About the Dean

Tejal A. Desai assumed the role of Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering at Brown University, effective September 1, 2022. An accomplished biomedical engineer and academic leader, Desai’s research spans multiple disciplines including materials engineering, cell biology, tissue engineering, and pharmacological delivery systems to develop new therapeutic interventions for disease. She seeks to design new platforms, enabled by advances in micro and nanotechnology, to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery.

She was elected to the 2024 membership class of the National Academy of Engineering, honoring her distinguished contributions “for nanofabricated materials to control biologics delivery, and leadership in the fields of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine.”  Membership in the NAE is considered one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer and Desai’s selection brings to six the number of current Brown faculty members in the NAE. 

She has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles and patents, and her research efforts have earned recognition including Technology Review’s "Top 100 Young Innovators," Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, and the Dawson Biotechnology Award. She was President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and is a fellow of AIMBE, IAMBE, CRS, and BMES. In 2015, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and in 2019 to the National Academy of Inventors. She delivered the 2023 Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting, the highest BMES honor bestowed upon one individual who has demonstrated impactful leadership and accomplishments in biomedical engineering science and practice.

Prior to coming to Brown, she was the Deborah Cowan Endowed Professor of the Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); and Professor in Residence, Department of Bioengineering, UC Berkeley (UCB). She served as director of the NIH training grant for the Joint UCSF/UCB Graduate Program in Bioengineering for over 15 years, and founding director of the UCSF/UCB Masters Program in Translational Medicine. She was also chair of the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF from 2014-2021 and the Inaugural Director of the UCSF Engineering and Applied Sciences Initiative known as HIVE (Health Innovation Via Engineering).

A vocal advocate for education and outreach to historically underrepresented groups in STEM, Desai’s work to break down institutional barriers to equity and cultivate a climate of inclusion has earned numerous honors and awards, including the AWIS Judith Poole Award in Mentorship, the 2021 UCSF Chancellors Award for the Advancement of Women, and the 2022 Controlled Release Woman in Science Award. As president of AIMBE (2020-2022), she led advocacy efforts for increased scientific funding and addressing workforce disparities in science/engineering. To foster the next generation of scientists, she was involved in the SF Science Education partnership and has worked with outreach organizations such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, PBS, and the UN Women’s council to develop hand-on exhibits and videos related to nanotechnology and women in engineering.

She received her B.S. from Brown University in biomedical engineering in 1994, and was awarded a Ph.D. in bioengineering jointly from UCSF and UC Berkeley in 1998.



Tejal A. Desai
Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering
Brown University
182 Hope Street /Box D
Providence, RI 02912
Email: dean-soe@brown.edu

Leadership Team

Brown engineers tend to be people with a very particular drive to improve the world around them. Students come to Brown because they want to make a positive impact on society and they see engineering as a powerful way to do that.

Tejal Desai Dean of Engineering
Tejal Desai

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