Boppart: Grainger Distinguished Chair of Engineering

Chair: Grainger Distinguished Chair of Engineering

In 2013 the University of Illinois announced the establishment of the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, a $100 million investment in the future of Engineering at Illinois. Supported by a pledge from The Grainger Foundation, this initiative will have far-reaching impact in several ECE research areas and the educational mission of the department. In particular, the initiative will focus on supporting research in the areas of big data and bioengineering.

The initiative will provide source funds to endow 35 professorships and chairs. Twenty-six of these will focus specifically on the areas of big data and bioengineering, and many will go toward recruiting senior faculty to Illinois in these research areas.


Faculty: Stephen A. Boppart

Stephen A. Boppart
Stephen A. Boppart

Stephen Boppart is a Professor and Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Bioengineering. He is also a full-time faculty member at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. His Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory is focused on developing novel optical biomedical diagnostic and imaging technologies and translating them into clinical applications. 

Prof. Boppart received his Ph.D. in Medical and Electrical Engineering from MIT, his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and his residency training at the University of Illinois in Internal Medicine. Since joining the faculty at UIUC in 2000, he has published over 400 invited and contributed publications, presented and co-authored over 900 invited and contributed presentations, and has over 50 patents related to optical biomedical imaging technology. He has mentored over 200 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate interdisciplinary researchers. He was recognized by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine as one of the Top 100 Young Innovators in the World for his development of medical technology, and the Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award from the Optical Society of America for dedication and advancement in undergraduate research education. More recently, he received the international Hans Sigrist Prize in the field of Diagnostic Laser Medicine, the SPIE Biophotonics Innovator Award, and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Inventors.

Prof. Boppart has co-founded four start-up companies to commercialize and disseminate his optical technologies for biomedical imaging. He is a Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, OSA, SPIE, AIMBE, and BMES. He previously served as Director of a campus-wide Imaging at Illinois to integrate imaging science, technology, and applications across multiple modalities and fields, and is currently Director of the Center for Optical Molecular Imaging supported by an academic-clinical-industry partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.

Prof. Boppart has been a strong advocate for the integration of engineering and medicine to advance human health and our healthcare systems, and has been involved in visioning, establishing, and developing our new engineering-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He is currently serving at the Executive Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer, and is dedicated to integrating innovation, technology, and engineering into the medical curriculum to educate and train the next generation of physician innovators.