Larry Taber, senior professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2020 H.R. Lissner Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
The prestigious Lissner Medal recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of bioengineering, including research contributions, bioengineering innovations or educational impact, as well as distinguished service with the ASME. It is the highest honor in the ASME's bioengineering division.
"When I first heard about the award, I was extremely surprised, as I didn't even know I was nominated," Taber said. "To me, it means that my research contributions have had more impact than I thought."
Taber was nominated for the award by Philip Bayly, the Lilyan & E. Lisle Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
"Larry's work has enabled new understanding of the changes in shape and structure that take place in the developing embryo," Bayly said. "He has inspired many other researchers, including his former students and colleagues like me, to work on the mechanics of heart and brain development."
Pat Alford, who earned a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007, presented Taber with his award during a virtual recognition ceremony.
"Larry was my thesis adviser, and you could not hope for a better one," Alford said. "This award is long overdue, and I'm so happy to be the one to present it."
During the ceremony, Taber discussed his career and research interests that spanned from his undergraduate studies to his eventual retirement in 2017. An avid baseball fan, he also touched on his love for the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Larry has taught so many, so much during his time at WashU as a founding member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering," said Lori Setton, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and chair of the department. "He reminds us in his Lissner Award lecture that his curiosity took him from hearts to brains to nerves to the Cardinals."
Taber came to Washington University in St. Louis in 1997 as a founding member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. During his tenure with the university, he made history by being the first person to ever receive the Richard Skalak Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering three times. Taber most recently won the award in 2015 for a paper titled "Bending of the looping heart: Differential growth revisited." He also received the award in 2004 and 2007.