Jessica Wagenseil, associate professor of mechanical engineering & materials science, has been appointed vice dean for faculty advancement in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, effective Nov. 1, 2020. 

In the newly created position, Wagenseil will work with the department chairs to assess and monitor faculty mentoring and career development, to develop faculty leadership training opportunities, and to coordinate nominations for faculty awards in support of the full range of faculty career progression. She also will work with Dean Aaron F. Bobick to coordinate the tenure and promotion process and serve as associate chair of the McKelvey Faculty Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

 “I am pleased to name Jessica Wagenseil as McKelvey Engineering’s first vice dean for faculty advancement,” said Bobick, also the James M. McKelvey Professor.” Jessica has the vital leadership qualities and rapport with the faculty and administration to take on this new role that will further develop our already outstanding faculty. This appointment is a critical step towards achieving several of the goals of the school’s strategic plan regarding the advancement of our faculty and addressing a variety of diversity challenges.”

“I look forward to promoting career-long success and strengthening our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for our faculty,” Wagenseil said. 

A Washington University alumna, Wagenseil joined the Engineering faculty in 2013 after four years as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Saint Louis University. Her research focuses on cardiovascular mechanics, specifically focusing on cardiovascular development, extracellular matrix proteins and microstructurally-based constitutive modeling. Her work is critical for testing clinical interventions for elastin-related diseases and for designing better protocols for building tissue-engineered blood vessels. She has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association and the Marfan Foundation.

Wagenseil has won numerous awards and honors during her career, including the American Society for Matrix Biology Iozzo Award for Mid-Career Investigators in 2020; the Skalak Award for best paper in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering in 2019; the Dean’s Award for Extraordinary Service from Washington University in 2017; and the Grantwinner Award for Excellence in Research at Saint Louis University in 2011.

She is active in other leadership roles in the school and at the university, including serving as speaker of the McKelvey Faculty Assembly in 2017-2018; co-chair of the school’s strategic planning committee from 2016-2018; a member of the “Engineering, Education & Race” seminar series committee in 2020; and as president of the university’s Association of Women Faculty in 2018.

Wagenseil completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology and physiology with Robert Mecham at the Washington University School of Medicine, during which she focused on elastin assembly and the mechanical properties of arteries with reduced elastin amounts. She earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering at Washington University, studying the mechanical properties of bio-artificial tissues under the guidance of Ruth Okamoto, teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. 

In addition to research in her Vascular Mechanics Laboratory, Wagenseil volunteers with the Gifted Resource Council, teaching an Introduction to Engineering course to middle-school students.

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