Imoukhuede named director of diversity initiatives for McKelvey School of Engineering

Imoukhuede will engage students, faculty and staff to more precisely identify and define diversity, equity and inclusion concerns

Beth Miller  

Princess Imoukhuede, associate professor of biomedical engineering, has been named director of diversity initiatives for the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, effective Dec. 1, 2020.

As the school’s first director of diversity initiatives, Imoukhuede will chair the soon-to-be-formed McKelvey Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). In this leadership position, Imoukhuede will ensure that the committee considers all DEI issues relevant to faculty, students and staff.  In addition, she will facilitate connections between the committee and the multitude of university organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, including the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity; the Academy for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

“I am delighted to appoint Princess Imoukhuede to lead diversity initiatives in the McKelvey School of Engineering,” said Aaron F. Bobick, dean and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “Under her guidance, our initiatives will coalesce into a coordinated, sustainable set of efforts that will help us to better address concerns of our students, faculty and staff and become a more inclusive and equitable community.”

“I am proud to lead this important initiative and to drive a promising and more equitable future for our engineering community at Washington University and beyond,” Imoukhuede said.

Imoukhuede will engage students, faculty and staff to more precisely identify and define diversity, equity and inclusion concerns, develop approaches to address those concerns and partner with school leadership to implement appropriate solutions. She also will examine curricular and programmatic opportunities to enhance the success of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) students as well as students with intersectional, marginalized identities, such as Black women. In particular, she will collaborate with the Office of the Provost, with Jessica Wagenseil, the school’s newly appointed vice dean of faculty advancement, and with Jay Turner, the school’s vice dean of education.

For more than 20 years, Imoukhuede has been committed to the work of racial justice and community building by serving on national committees, leading organizations and mentoring rising leaders. Specifically, she serves on the NAVBO Diversity Committee and BME Women UNITE, among others. She co-founded the Black Women in Biomedical Engineering Special Session, now in its third year, at the BMES Annual Meeting. Throughout the country, she mentors BIPOC faculty and rising leaders in professional development including research leadership, securing funding and building relationships. She has earned numerous awards, including the 2017 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2018 IMSA Distinguished Leadership Award and the 2018 Young Innovator in Nanobiotechnology.

Imoukhuede joined the Engineering faculty as an associate professor in 2018 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Washington University, she also is a member of the Center for Science and Engineering of Living Systems, a Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) Member of the Siteman Cancer Center, and an affiliate of the Center for Engineering MechanoBiology. She completed postdoctoral training at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after earning a doctorate in bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Her research examines mechanisms regulating angiogenic signaling with focus on tyrosine kinase receptors VEGFRs and PDGFRs. She pioneers both quantitative biological measurements and computational biological models to delineate ligand-receptor binding, receptor and effector phosphorylation, and sprouting angiogenic hallmarks (cell proliferation and migration). This bottom-up systems biology paradigm offers mechanistic insight towards directing vascular signaling with translational implications to cancers and cardiovascular diseases. She holds two patents for her work and has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society.

The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 165 full-time faculty, 1,420 undergraduate students, 1,614 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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