Grace Hopper Lecture Series

In support of its educational mission of promoting the role of all engineers in society, the School of Engineering and Applied Science presents the Grace Hopper Lecture Series. This series is intended to serve the dual purpose of recognizing successful women in engineering and of inspiring students to achieve at the highest level. Grace Hopper is a wonderful example of a visionary in her field who exhibited the type of pioneering spirit that is an inspiration to all of us.

In support of the accomplishments of women in engineering, each department within the School invites a prominent speaker to campus for a two-day visit that incorporates a public lecture, various mini-talks and opportunities to interact with undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. This series provides another avenue for recognition of distinguished leaders in engineering and presents role models that help remind all of us why we chose this profession.

Grace Hopper Lecture

Jennifer A. Lewis, Sc.D.

Wyss Professor for Biologically Inspired Engineering
The Wyss Institute
Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University

“Biomanufacturing Vascularized Organoids and Functional Human Tissues”
Thursday, March 25, 2021
3:00-4:00 PM EDT

Join live via Zoom (contact for link)

Panel discussion “Horizon 2030: Engineering Life & Life in (Bio)Engineering” to follow the lecture at 4:15 PM EDT (details here).



Recent protocols in developmental biology are unlocking the potential for stem cells to undergo differentiation and self-assembly to form “mini-organs”, known as organoids. To bridge the gap from organoid building blocks (OBBs) to therapeutic functional tissues, integrative approaches that combine bottom-up organoid assembly with top-down bioprinting are needed. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine how either organoids or bioprinting alone would fully replicate the complex multiscale features required for organ-specific function – their combination may provide an enabling foundation for de novo tissue manufacturing. My talk will begin by describing our recent efforts to generate organoids in vitro with perfusable microvascular networks that support their viability and maturation. Next, I will describe the generation of 3D vascularized organ-specific tissues by assembling OBBs into a living matrix that supports the embedded printing of macro-vessels by a process known as sacrificial writing in functional tissue (SWIFT).  Though broadly applicable, I will highlight our recent work on kidney, cerebral, and cardiac tissue engineering.


Jennifer A. Lewis is the Jianming Yu Professor of Arts and Sciences, the Wyss Professor for Biologically Inspired Engineering in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Her research focuses on 3D printing of functional, structural, and biological materials that emulate natural systems. Prior to joining Harvard, Lewis was a faculty member in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she served as the Director of the Materials Research Laboratory. Currently, she directs the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and serves the NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee.

Lewis has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, the American Chemical Society Langmuir Lecture Award, the Materials Research Society Medal Award, the American Ceramic Society Sosman and Roy Lecture Awards, and the Lush Science Prize. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Her research has enjoyed broad coverage in the popular media. To date, she has co-founded two companies, Voxel8 Inc. and Electroninks, that are commercializing technology from her lab.


Past Speakers in the Series

April 4, 2019: Cynthia Reinhart-King, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, Vanderbilt University

November 16, 2017: Claudia Fischbach, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University

October 18, 2017: Susannah Scott, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara

October 12, 2017: Amalie L. Frischknecht, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies Sandia National Laboratories

October 18, 2017: Susannah Scott, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara

October 25, 2016: Murial Medard, Cecil H. Green Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

January 29, 2015: Jennifer Elisseeff, Jules Stein Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

November 6, 2013: Xu Han, Assisstant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, – “Optogenetics and Neural Circuit Mapping”

March 28, 2013: Tresa Pollock, Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara, – “A New Tri-Beam Tomography System: How Much Information is Enough?”

February 9, 2012: Rebecca M. Bergman, Vice Presiden, New Therapies & Diagonostics Medtronic, Inc, – “Medical Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for the Next Decade”

January 20, 2011: Christine Ortiz, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Dean for Graduate Education, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, – “Natural Armor: An Encyclopedia of Protective Engineering Designs”

November 23, 2010: Margo Seltzer, Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science, Engineering and Applied Sciences,  Harvard University, – “Provenance Everywhere”

November 17, 2009: Elaine J.Weyuker, AT&T Labs–Research, Shannon Laboratory, – “Bugs – Find Them Before They Find You”

April 2, 2009: Linda Schadler, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – “Towards Design of Polymer Nanocomposites: Using the Interface to Control Polymer Nanocomposite Properties”

March 18, 2009: Sossina M. Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology – “Is There a Role for Nano-Materials in Fuel Cells?”

December 2, 2008: Anna R. Karlin, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington – “A Survey of Some Recent Research at the Border of Game Theory, Algorithms and Economics”

April 24, 2008: Frances M. Ross, Manager, Nanoscale Materials Analysis Department, IBM TJ Watson Research Center – “Dynamic Electron Microscopy of the Nucleation and Growth of Self-Assembled Nanostructures”

November 8, 2007: Lori Setton, Mary Milius Yoh and Harold L. Yoh Jr. Bass Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University – “Design of Environmentally Responsive Polymers To Form Locally-Delivered Drug Depots For Musculoskeletal Disease”

October 30, 2007: Martha E. Pollack, Dean and Professor, School of Information; Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan“Intelligent Assistive Technology:  The Present and the Future”

December 4, 2006: Nadine Aubry, Professor and Department Head, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University –  “Some Challenges of Micro-Fluid Mechanics”

October 26, 2006: Jessica Hodgins, Professor, Computer Science and Robotics, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University – “Interfaces for Controlling Human Characters”

January 18, 2006: Molly S. Shoichet, Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Chemistry and Biomaterials, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto – “Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery Strategies for Spinal Cord Injury Repair”

December 6, 2005: Sangetta N. Bhatia, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – “Application of Micro- and Nanotechnology Tools to Tissue Dysfunction”

September 14, 2005: Daphne Koller, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University – “Probabilistic Models for Complex Domains: Cells, Bodies, and Webpages”

April 2, 2004: Jennifer Widom, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Stanford University – “Old Systems for New Data: Querying XML and Data Streams”

January 27, 2004: Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania – “Breaking the Mold: American Women Engineers”

September 18, 2003: Rebecca R. Richards-Kortum, Robert M. and Prudie Leibrock Professor in Engineering, University of Texas, Austin – “Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging for the Early Detection of Cancer”

February 28, 2003: Nancy A. Lynch, Professor of Electrical and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – “RAMBO: A Reconfigurable Atomic Memory Service for Dynamic Networks”

October 28, 2002: T. Kyle Vanderlick, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University – “Driving Biological Membranes to the Breaking Point: Fundamental Studies using Lipid Vesicles”

April 23, 2002: Karen Sparck Jones, Professor of Computers and Information, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge – “Language and Information: Old Ideas, New Achievements”

April 11, 2002: Banu Onaral, H. H. Sun Professor and Director, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems Drexel University – “Complex Biological Systems”

March 20, 2002: Katherine Crothall, President, CEO and Founder, Animas Corporation – “In Search of the Holy Grail: a Continuous and Accurate Blood Glucose Monitor”

April 12, 2001: Kathryn Uhrich, Professor of Chemistry, Rutgers University – “PolyDrugs and Polymeric Micelles for Drug Delivery”

March 26, 2001: Carol K. Hall, Alcoa Professor of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University – “Computer Simulation of the Competition between Protein Folding and Aggregation”

March 6, 2001: Barbara J. Grosz, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University – “Getting Computer Systems to Function as Team Players”

About Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was a mathematician, computer scientist, systems designer and the inventor of the compiler. Her outstanding contributions to computer science benefited academia, industry and the military. In 1928 she graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in mathematics and physics and joined the Vassar faculty. While an instructor, she continued her studies in mathematics at Yale University where she earned an MA in 1930 and a Ph.D. in 1934.

Grace Hopper is known worldwide for her work with the first large-scale digital computer, the Navy’s Mark I. In 1949 she joined Philadelphia’s Eckert-Mauchly, founded by the builders of ENIAC, which was building UNIVAC I. Her work on compilers and on making machines understand ordinary language instructions lead ultimately to the development of the business language, COBOL. Grace Hopper served on the faculty of the Moore School for 15 years, and in 1974 received an honorary degree from the University.