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Tufts biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto named Guggenheim Fellow

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts University School of Engineering and adjunct professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences, has received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Omenetto received the only Guggenheim fellowship in engineering and one of just 180 fellowships awarded to scholars, artists, and scientists chosen from almost 3,000 applicants in the United States and Canada.

The prestigious award will support Omenetto's efforts to demonstrate the first implantable and fully bioresorbable optical and electronic components that seamlessly integrate into living tissue.

"This is part of a broader vision to establish silk as a sustainable, biocompatible materials platform for a new class of multifunctional devices that can address as yet unmet needs in medical, food safety and environmental applications," said Omenetto.

Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, Guggenheim Fellows, who are typically at the mid-point of their careers, have gone on to earn scores of Nobel, Pulitzer and other prizes.

Omenetto's research is heavily focused on interdisciplinary themes that span nonlinear optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers), optofluidics and biopolymer based photonics. His laboratory has pioneered the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications and is actively investigating novel applications that rely on this new technology base.

"Fio Omenetto's work exemplifies our interdisciplinary research model at Tufts School of Engineering. The excitement, creativity and energy that he brings to his research and teaching are making an enormous contribution to our growing program in bioengineering," said Linda M. Abriola, dean of engineering.

According to Guggenheim President Edward Hirsch, the foundation started in 1925 as "a wonderfully novel experiment." Since then it has granted nearly $290 million in fellowships to more than 17,000 individuals. "We don't support groups or organizations," said Hirsch. "We have always bet everything on the individual, which seems to me increasingly rare in a corporatized America."

Omenetto earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and applied physics from the Universita' di Pavia, Italy. He received a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellowship from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Additional information on his work is available at


Contact: Kim Thurler
Tufts University

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