28 January 2023
Interview with Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie—Founding Editor-in-Chief of Bioengineering

We had the pleasure of speaking with Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, Editor-in-Chief of Bioengineering (ISSN: 2306-5354), to discuss the recent research trends in the field and his personal career development.

Name: Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie
Email: guiseppi@tamu.edu

Persistence and perseverance, vim and verve.

Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie is a Chief Academic Officer and serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Workforce Development at Tri-Country Technical College, USA. He was the Founding Dean of the College of Engineering, Vice President of Industry Relations, and University Distinguished Professor at Anderson University, South Carolina. He is the former Associate Dean of Engineering Innovation in Engineering Medicine (ENMED) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Houston Methodist Hospital (HMH), where he was the TEES Professor of Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. At Houston Methodist Hospital, he was a Full Affiliate Member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Engineering. Previously, he was Department Head of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the TEES Division of Biomedical Engineering at TAMU and directed the Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B®) Laboratories as a member of the joint EnMed Faculty Regenerative Engineering Working Group. He is the Founder, President, and Scientific Director of ABTECH Scientific, Inc., a near-patient biomedical diagnostics company, and has been associated with three start-up companies.

He holds an Sc.D. in materials science and engineering from MIT, an M.Sc. in chemical engineering (corrosion science and engineering) from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and a B.Sc. (First Class Honors) with majors in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and applied chemistry from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He spent 15 years in both intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial industrial research and product development at companies such as WR Grace & Co, Molecular Electronics Corporation and ABTECH Scientific, Inc., before becoming a full Professor of Chemical and Life Science Engineering (1998) and Professor of Emergency Medicine (2000) at Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia. In 2006, he joined Clemson University as the Dow Chemical Professor with appointments in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 2015, he joined TAMU and in 2020 joined Anderson University.

As a founding professor of the department of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering, Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie was instrumental in establishing the School of Engineering at VCU, serving as the first full professor of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering, center director, and as a member of the Dean’s Cabinet (Dean Dr. Henry McGee). As a full professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Medical College of Virginia (MCV-VCU), Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie played a key role in recruiting the first class and led the development of an innovative curriculum at the interface of chemical engineering and the life sciences. At Clemson University, he held appointments at the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. At Clemson, Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie developed the Biomolecular Concentration, which included courses in biomolecular engineering, bionanotechnology, and biosensors and bioelectronics that served all three departments. At Texas A&M, he served as a founding member of the Working Group on Engineering-Medicine (ENMED) that worked over four years to develop a partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital and realize a program of study leading to the simultaneous earned MS in Engineering Innovation and the MD, both earned in four years of study.

Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is a 2015–2010 Fulbright Specialist Award recipient in bioengineering at the University of Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina, the 2017 Visiting Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering at Wrocław University in Poland, the 2014–2015 Visiting Distinguished Professor of Industrial Bioelectronics at l'Ecole des mines d'Alès, France, the 2013 Avis Professor in Pharmaceutics at the University of Tennessee, a 2012–2013 IEEE-EMBS Distinguished Lecturer, and a 2012 Microsystems Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Maryland. Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE Fellow-2006), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC-2014), A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (FIEEE-2016), a Lifetime Member of AIChE, and holds memberships in AAAS, ACS, MRS, AAPS, and BMES. He has previously served as Vice Chair, Co-Chair, and Secretary Treasurer of the AIMBE Industry Council and was the 2017–2018 Chair of the AIMBE College of Fellows. He is a graduate of the Academic Leadership Academy at Penn State University and serves on the External Advisory Board of the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Florida, the Board of Directors of STEAM-E, and The Council for Frontiers of Knowledge (The CFK) (Uganda).

Among Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie’s many national and international appointments are as a member of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) sub-committee on “Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Living World” (2020), an appointed member of the International Panel on “Science for Technological Innovation (sfTI)” of the National Science Challenge, New Zealand (2018–2020), an appointed member of the NSF-Lead US Delegation to a Joint USA-Russia Workshop on “Emerging Trends in Bioelectronics” Electrical, Communications and Cyber System Division and the Office of International Science and Engineering (2011), an appointed member of the National Academies Panel on “Electronics and Electrical Engineering” (2009) of the US National Research Council (2009), and an appointed member of the International Panel for “Review of Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions” of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) of Ireland.

Prof. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie has taught technical innovation, entrepreneurship, biomolecular and cellular engineering, biosensors and bioelectronics, biological transport phenomena, and nanobiotechnology. His research interests are engineered bioanalytical microsystems in the service of human health and medicine. This includes bionanotechnology, microfabrication, and 3D printing of bio- and electro-responsive hydrogels, BioMEMS, physiology-on-a-chip, ABIO-BIO interfaces, and interfacing of biology and engineering at the molecular, cellular and tissue length scales. He has published over 225 archival scientific papers (8731 citations, h-index = 48), 33 book or proceedings chapters, holds 8 USA and foreign patents, and has given in excess of 200 invited lectures/colloquia. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Bioengineering (IF = 5.046). He was named among the top 1000 Black life scientists in the USA (2020) and the top 2% of scientists worldwide (2021).

We wish to congratulate Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie for being listed among the top 2% of scientists worldwide. We hope you enjoy the interview!

1. What are your research areas?
My research interests are in the fundamentals: engineering development and clinical deployment of engineered bioanalytical microsystems in the service of human health and medicine. These are measurement devices and systems intended to engender greater control in clinical decision-making, and they employ a wide range of enabling technologies, including carbonaceous nanomaterials in bionanotechnology to support direct electron transfer and biosensor development, microlithographic fabrication of implantable biochip substrates to enable multiplexed biosensing of biomarkers in hemorrhagic trauma, 3D printing of bioactive and electro-responsive hydrogels as biorecognition hosting elements in biosensors, BioMEMS, vascular physiology-on-a-chip, ABIO-BIO interfaces to support neurostimulation, and the interfacing of biology and engineering at the molecular, cellular, and tissue-length scales. Among the areas to which I have made major contributions are enzymes, antibodies, and genosensors that employ electrochemical transduction. Another area of interest has been the development of biologically responsive polymers based on the synthesis of co-polymers fashioned from inherently conductive polymers such as Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) and polypyrrole with highly hydratable monomers such 2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate (2-HEMA) and 2-Hydroxypropyl Methacrylate (2-HPMA) and functionalized polypeptides to yield bioactive, electroconductive hydrogels. Such materials may be fashioned into responsive hydrogels that host a drug payload for sustained bio-erodible release and/or electro-stimulated burst release. Most recently, we have become interested in electromics, which is the control of gene expression under the influence of exogenously applied electric fields.

2. What are the latest developments in your research field?
The latest developments in the field of biosensors are found in multiplexed and multimodal biosensors. Multiplexed biosensors use the same principle of transduction but seek a plurality of analytes using a multiplicity of biological recognition elements immobilized on different regions of the complex transducer. Multimodal biosensors may target the same analyte but may use two or more modes of transduction. An equally important development is the use of post-processing to achieve data fusion with other sources of related bioanalytical data or with clinical expert data. The use of data fusion algorithms to achieve classification or stratification is exampled by the use of AI to fuse multi-modal biophysical and biochemical data to achieve stratification of allografts for transplantation.

Another important development is the use of electric fields to influence the expression of genes within cells and tissues. While electrobiology has been around for a very long time and molecular bioelectricity has provided important insight into electrophysiology, the application of controlled electric fields to support neo-vascularization or tissue innervation in regenerative engineering promises to be an important theme for the future.

3. Can you share your career development story? For example, what cases have influenced you the most?
The landmark discovery that some organic polymers may be inherently conductive, possessing electrical conductivities and other properties similar to that of metals, was irresistibly fascinating [H. Shirakawa, E. J. Louis, A. G. MacDiarmid, C. K. Chiang, A. J. Heeger, Synthesis of electrically conducting organic polymers: halogen derivatives of polyacetylene, (CH)x, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 578–580]. This, and the subsequent works that became the substance of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, came on the heels of Lehninger’s electron-transport chain of molecular bioenergetics, in which I had become immersed as an undergraduate biochemistry student. I spent my early career exploring the connections between these two streams, which led to: Guiseppi-Elie US Patent 5,312,762 5/1994 (https://patents.google.com/patent/US5312762A/en?oq=5312762) and Guiseppi-Elie et al. Nanotechnology, 2002, 13(5), 559 (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0957-4484/13/5/303). A second source of influence has been the textbook by Alan J. Grodzinsky—Fields, Forces, and Flows in Biological Systems, ISBN 9780367864354. I have taught from and been inspired by the holistic treatment across multiple length scales found in this textbook.

4. Do you have any valuable suggestions you would like to share with young students and early career researchers?
We are each birthed into an ecosystem of ideas and approaches to the emergence of new ideas in that ecosystem. The faster we can shed the trappings of our own and embrace those of others—for example, through travel, through forays into other disciplines, or immersive associations with other cultures, or collaborations—the faster we can mature in our humanity and in our inquiry. Stick with it, but not indefinitely. Be prepared to tack left or right, taking with you lessons learned. Collaborate extensively, recognizing that with each collaboration, you must sacrifice some of yourself so that the collaboration as a whole is better than the sum of each person taken separately. Be prepared to fail; it is an equally valid condition. Dwell on your failures, but do not become paralyzed by them; they are far more informative than your successes.

5. What do you think of the development of Open Access in publishing?
I am an advocate for Open Access publishing. Open Access publishing broadens participation in the knowledge enterprises through access and availability, and so engenders greater citizen engagement with qualified knowledge sources. I joined MDPI with a proposal to establish Bioengineering in early 2013 (ISSN (electronic): 2306-5354; Publisher: MDPI AG), not long after the publishing house was founded as Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin in 2010. Gold OA publishing allows peer-reviewed journal works to be accessed via the journal’s or publisher’s website. Having been in the Open Access publishing space for almost 10 years, I see that Open Access publishing continues to approach maturity, but also continues to receive some scrutiny and criticism for being a double-edged sword in both perception and practice. Open Access publishing may not yet be fully “out of the woods”, even though this model is now adopted by several major traditional scientific publishing houses, for select or new journals. This model may still be vulnerable while on the path to full maturity. Open Access journals that have benefitted from highly disciplined, deeply engaged academic editorial leadership have reaped the benefits of high Impact Factors. For example, MDPI is home to 10 journals with IF ≥ 5.000 (Clarivate, Journal Citation Reports). It is important that we continue to maintain quality and integrity while democratizing knowledge. Financial self-sufficiency and sustainability continue to be a source of concern in the Open Access space. However, subscribing to the tenets of COPE ensures a culture of publication integrity. Sustained and productive consultative relationships among publishers and Editors-in-Chief, Associate Editors, and Editorial Board Members who are credible content experts will ensure a secure future for Open Access publishing, one that balances the security of the new financial model with the aspirations of equity and integrity in scientific publishing.


The Founding Editor-in-Chief next to our booth at BMES 2022 in San Antonio, TX, USA

We are thankful for Prof. Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie’s time and his ongoing support of Bioengineering.

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