Biomedical Engineering receives $12 million for research and advancement

The College of Engineering received $12 million from the Carver Charitable Trust and now wants to change its name in honor of their benefactor.


Ben Allan Smith

Workers carry materials across the Seamans Center construction site on Monday.

Katie Ann McCarver, News Reporter

The Carver Charitable Trust has committed $12 million to the UI College of Engineering, bringing its total donations to $15 million, the largest sum the college has ever received

Because of this support for research and discovery in biomedical engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Department awaits approval by the state Board of Regents to change its name to the UI Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“The Carver Charitable Trust has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to the elevating research that addresses the most pressing human-health issues,” UI President Bruce Harreld said in a press release. “We are incredibly thankful for our partnership.”

The $12 million will be dedicated to additional research by the department to find solutions for the growing issues of lung disease and respiratory disorders.

“This extraordinary commitment builds on 30 years of unsurpassed support from the Carver Charitable Trust to the UI,” President and CEO of the UI Center for Advancement Lynette Marshall said in a release. “We are grateful to the Carver Charitable Trust, which continues to build on its legacy of advancing scientific discovery and transforming lives.”

According to the release, lung disease is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and respiratory disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis, require further research.

“This gift will help our students and faculty to develop new therapies for lung disorders such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer,” UI Biomedical Engineering Department head Joseph Reinhardt said in the release.

Research has further benefited from close collaboration with colleagues in the Carver College of Medicine, he said, allowing them to innovate based on direct medical application by experienced medical professionals.

The Carver Charitable Trust was originally founded after Roy Carver’s death; he, along with his wife, made significant contributions to the UI during his lifetime. In 2002 the Carver College of Medicine was named in the Carvers’ honor because of the Carver Charitable Trust’s support of biomedical research, UI programs and facilities, and breakthroughs in neuroscience and cardiology.

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“We are confident that this gift will serve to accelerate ongoing research and graduate training, as well as attract exceptional new faculty investigators,” executive administrator of the Carver Charitable Trust Troy Ross said in the release. “All of which should lead to enhanced scientific understanding and effective care for those living with conditions affecting the airway.”

The Biomedical Engineering Department has an enrollment of 618 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

“As we look to attract support from federal agencies, philanthropic organizations, and other sources, the cutting-edge research facilitated by this gift will position … the University of Iowa as the premier destination for pulmonary and respiratory biomedical engineering,” Engineering College Dean Alec Scranton said in the release.

The regents will determine whether the department will change its name at the meeting later this week in Cedar Falls.

“A gift of this magnitude will not only increase the national and global visibility and impact of the future UI Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering,” Scranton said. “It will also allow us to recruit stellar faculty members, enroll enterprising graduate students, and produce research that will transform lives.”