Bill Bentley Awarded AIMBE's Professional Impact Award in Mentoring

news story image

William E. Bentley, director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices and director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), was recently awarded the Professional Impact Award in Mentoring by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a nonprofit organization representing the most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering.

The Professional Impact Award in Mentoring recognizes outstanding contributions to the biological and biomedical engineering community by inspiring creativity and leadership among graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career faculty.

Bentley was nominated for this award by AIMBE Fellow and Fischell Department of Bioengineering Chair (BIOE) John Fisher.

Prior to his roles as director of the Fischell Institute and Mtech, Bentley was the founding director of the University of Maryland’s Graduate Program in Bioengineering and, later, the founding chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. He also served as the director of UMD’s Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility for a decade.

During his tenure at UMD, Bentley has hired, mentored, and advised faculty, staff, and researchers, including dozens of scientists and engineers who have become leaders across the chemical, biological, and biomedical engineering disciplines.

Also a Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair in Engineering, Bentley has advised 50 Ph.D. students and 26 postdoctoral researchers to date—17 whom now hold tenured positions at top institutions worldwide—and six that have become chairs or administrative leads at their current institutions. More than 30 of his Ph.D. students have moved on to industry and government agencies, where they assumed leadership roles.

“That so many students have become academics speaks to the intellectual freedom students enjoy as a hallmark of his lab,” says Fisher. “His students have found an open and rich learning environment in which to explore, create, and publish; perhaps this has contributed to the large number now in academic positions.”

Research in Bentley’s Biomolecular and Metabolic Engineering Laboratory has spanned many topics, including: the metabolic burden that accompanies recombinant protein expression; antisense RNA as a metabolic controller; insect larvae as mini-bioreactors; bacterial cell-cell communication and quorum sensing; GFP probes for optimal control; and, most recently, electrogenetics.

“While some of our work can seem tangential, it’s always been motivated by creating technologies that contribute, even in some small way, to society,” said Bentley. “It’s incredibly rewarding to witness all of the ‘good’ that has come from the students and researchers who have come through our lab. Those in academia are amplifying these contributions by teaching and mentoring their own students, while those in industry are often involved in making new therapeutics to help cure diseases. It’s just incredibly rewarding.”

Bentley was recognized for his significant contributions to the field of bioengineering as both an educator and mentor at AIMBE’s 2024 Annual Event, which took place in Arlington, Virginia, from March 24–25, 2024.

Published March 29, 2024