ATLANTA, GA — Andrés García has been named the 2021 recipient of the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Georgia Tech professor. The award is given to a professor who has made long-term and significant contributions to teaching, research, and public service.
Andrés García, a native of Puerto Rico, was very interested in the emerging field of biomedical engineering. However, his father advised him to major in another engineering discipline as a backup if the biomedical field didn’t develop as anticipated. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and later master’s and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
After completing postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania — his in cell and molecular biology, hers in neurotrauma — Nerem recruited Andrés García and his wife, Michelle LaPlaca, to join Tech’s pioneering IBB program in 1997.
When García and LaPlaca joined Tech in 1998, IBB launched its National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Tissue Engineering with Emory University, making it a strategic community for García to join to begin his research program an emerging field. García, now the executive director of IBB and a Regents Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, is carrying on Nerem’s legacy of vision, collaboration, and innovation in everything he does.
When Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera called to inform him that he had been chosen for this year’s Distinguished Professor Award, García said he was deeply honored, humbled, and shocked. “This award is meaningful to me because it recognizes the significant contributions made by my friends, family, and peers in my life to bring me to this point. I am grateful to my trainees, collaborators, and colleagues, as well as Georgia Tech for its assistance in providing me with the tools I need to succeed.”
García, who has been elected to both the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Engineering, has founded three startups in the last seven years. He has received numerous teaching and research awards and has published over 230 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals.
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