Meet Matthew O'Donnell
Matthew O'Donnell is a native New Yorker with a high-energy, high-humor, fast-paced, and direct manner who has spent most of his academic and professional career in the Midwest. In September of 2006 he made the cross-country leap to the Northwest by moving from chair of the University of Michigan's Department of Biomedical Engineering to the deanship of the UW College of Engineering.
The draw for the scientist-engineer was the strong interdisciplinary culture at the UW and the possibilities that such a tradition implies.
"To truly be a leader in the 21st century, an engineering school needs a complete university with all the major components that go into that—a top medical school, a strong arts and sciences program, a solid business school, good public policy and public health programs," he said. "Those components are critical for top engineering schools, and the UW has them all."
O'Donnell himself has a multi-faceted background.
A physicist by training with undergraduate through doctoral degrees from Notre Dame, O'Donnell exemplifies the new breed of scientist-engineer who works across disciplines. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1990 as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science. In 1998, he was named the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering and was appointed chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department in 1999. He also won several engineering teaching awards at Michigan.
An expert in ultrasound imaging, O'Donnell says he "likes to make pictures." This simple statement belies his cutting-edge explorations of new imaging modalities in biomedicine, including ultrafast optics, in vivo microscopy, catheter imaging of coronary arteries, optoacoustic arrays, and elasticity and molecular imaging. He is principal or co-principal investigator on numerous research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.
O'Donnell and his wife, Catherine, have two sons. Catherine O'Donnell, is a journalist covering general assignments, business and, most recently, religion and ethics. In their spare time, O'Donnell and his wife, Catherine, share their passion for reading and learning with friends in a book group.
He's also enjoys the outdoor pursuits the Seattle area offers. "I love to ski," he said. "I'm not very good at it, but I enjoy it."
O'Donnell holds 50 patents and has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications. He is associate editor of the journal Ultrasonic Imaging, is a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Imaging Study Section, a fellow of both IEEE and AIMBE, and a member of Sigma Xi, and the American Physical Society.
Earlier steps on his career path included postdoctoral fellowship and senior research associate positions at Washington University, St. Louis, a research fellowship at Yale University, and a decade of private-sector experience as a research and development physicist at General Electric in Schenectady, New York.