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Two new Richard and Loan Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering appointments announced

Dean Peter Nelson announced two new appointments in the biomedical engineering department.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce two new appointments to the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering as endowed by Richard Hill (BS ’74) and Loan Hill,” Nelson said. “The appointments include Richard and Loan Hill Clinical Professor Miiri Kotche and Richard and Loan Hill Chair Eben Alsberg.”

The appointments will be celebrated at an in-person investiture ceremony at a later date.

The Hills have donated more than $9 million to the university over the last few decades. Rick Hill graduated from UIC with a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering. He has held engineering and management positions at General Investiture Electric, Hughes Aircraft, Motorola, and Tektronix. In 1993, he became CEO of Novellus Systems, then a small semiconductor manufacturing equipment company in Silicon Valley, which he led to become one of the top semiconductor equipment manufacturers in the world. Hill retired in 2012 after selling Novellus to Lam Research for $3.3 billion.

Below are brief biographies of Miiri Kotche and Eben Alsberg.

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Richard and Loan Hill Clinical Professor Miiri Kotche

Miiri Kotche, who is also associate dean for undergraduate affairs, started teaching part-time at night while working as a full-time professional in industry. She joined the biomedical engineering department in 2011 as a part-time lecturer and became a full-time clinical faculty member in 2012.

Kotche’s research centered around undergraduate education. Her focus is on providing real-world experiences in education for biomedical engineering and medical students in the classroom. She started the Biomedical Engineering Clinical Immersion Program, for rising senior undergraduate students with an interest in medical product development. She also co-founded the Bioengineering Experience for Science Teachers, which allows high school teachers from Chicago Public Schools to spend the summer working in biomedical engineering labs with students and faculty. Kotche also serves as director of the Innovation Medicine program in the College of Medicine.

Kotche received her BS in general engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 1995. She then went on to receive her master’s degree in mechanical engineering and PhD in bioengineering from UIC.

In her career, she was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2017-18 and recipient of the UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching, UIC College of Medicine Rising Star Award, UIC College of Engineering Advising Award, the 2019 Harold Simon Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was also included in 2020 Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Women in STEM 2020. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2022.

Eben Alsberg

Richard and Loan Hill Chair Eben Alsberg

Eben Alsberg serves as the Director of the Alsberg Stem Cell and Engineered Novel Therapeutics (ASCENT) Laboratory. He was previously a professor at Case Western Reserve University in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery from 2005 to 2018 and was recruited as a UIC President’s Distinguished Hire in 2019. He also holds appointments with the departments of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Pharmacology and Regenerative Medicine, and Orthopaedics. Alsberg was named a Richard and Loan Hill Professor in 2019. He has now been elevated to become the first Richard and Loan Hill Chair in the biomedical engineering department.

Alsberg’s research focuses on engineering functional biologic replacements to repair damaged or diseased tissues in the body. Complex signals implicated in tissue morphogenesis, repair, and homeostasis are used as inspiration for the development of innovative biomaterials for tissue regeneration. Through the precise temporal and spatial presentation of soluble bioactive factors, mechanical forces, and biomaterial physical and biochemical properties, his lab aspires to create microenvironments that regulate cell gene expression and new tissue formation. He has more than 30 patents issued or pending in the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering in biomedical engineering and in mechanical engineering and material science from Duke University. He received Master of Science in Engineering degrees in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan, and he then received his PhD in biomedical engineering also from the University of Michigan in 2002. Alsberg then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Vascular Biology Program at Harvard Medical School.

Alsberg’s work has been recognized with the Senior Scientist Award from the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, the Biomedical Engineering Departmental Faculty of the Year Award for the UIC College of Medicine, the UIC University Scholar Award, the Biovalley Young Investigator Award from the Tissue Engineering Society International, the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award, the Crain’s Cleveland Business Forty Under 40 Award, the Technion Lady Davis Fellowship, a Visiting Professorship at Kyung Hee University, and election as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and of the Biomedical Engineering Society.