NJIT Provost William Van Buskirk said the university was delighted to have someone of Hunter's caliber, who was appointed on July 1.
"Bill Hunter is well known and respected by both cardiovascular researchers and biomedical engineering educators," Van Buskirk said. "And the biomedical department at Hopkins, from which he comes, is widely regarded as one of the best in the country."
Hunter comes to NJIT after more than 20 years on the faculty at Hopkins. Biomedical engineering is a relatively new and rapidly expanding area and Hopkins was, and remains, one of the leading universities in the field.
For Hunter, though, the chance to lead a vigorous new department at NJIT was an opportunity he couldn't turn down.
"The biomedical engineering department at NJIT is really poised to take off," Hunter said. "Student interest, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, is rising faster in the biomedical field then almost any other engineering area now. We're also lucky to have an excellent core faculty already committed to the department. Faculty members who transferred from other departments are excellent, and we've been able to hire two outstanding new young faculty members. I'm looking forward to working with them all to build biomedical engineering at NJIT."
Hunter has applied engineering tools in novel ways throughout his research on cardiac function. He has used techniques from systems engineering to identify dynamic aspects of heart muscle contraction, and was able to show that those dynamics also apply to the main heart pump -- the left ventricle.
In addition, he has applied radiology and magnetic resonance imaging techniques to visualize the pattern of internal shortening that occurs within the heart muscle as it contracts. He has also studied the fundamental relationships that describe how heart muscle will be stretched or shortened when it is subject to a complex, three-dimensional set of forces, as it is within the walls of the heart chambers.
In fact, driven by the need to describe these complex stress-strain relationships, Hunter developed a mechanical engineering approach that may make it easier to describe how stress relates to strain in any compliant elastic material (like rubber).
Hunter's expertise is in using engineering tools to study the mechanics of the beating of the human heart. He is internationally known for his research on heart contractions - both the proteins that generate force, to an understanding of the heart pumping blood into the aorta. For more than 18 years he led a research project, "Understanding Cardiac Contraction - From Muscle to Ventricle," funded by the National Institute of Health.
Hunter received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Lehigh University. He received his doctorate in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and he did post-doctorate studies in cardiac physiology from the University of Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.
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