Logo: University of Southern California

Retired Gen. David Petraeus Visits USC Viterbi

Petraeus meets with biomedical engineering faculty and students during campus visit
By: Norberto Grzywacz
October 30, 2013 —
David Petraeus with USC Viterbi faculty, staff, and students during his visit to campus on October 8

During a recent visit to USC to give a lecture on “The Coming North American Decades,” retired Gen. David Petraeus, the new Judge Widney Professor at USC, met with faculty and students from USC Viterbi. The Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) organized an event on October 8 to showcase some of its ongoing research projects. The USC Viterbi event for Petraeus included six presentations and was attended by members of the BME Department, as well as Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.

The first presentation was given by Behrokh Khoshnevis, Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering, who spoke about his work in 3D-printing entire buildings and its possible applications to space exploration. BME Chair and Professor Norberto Grzywacz then gave a general panoramic tour of USC Viterbi's biomedical engineering research and discussed this research within the context of the national and state economies, with a focus on Southern California.

Professor Ted Berger followed with a presentation on his efforts to develop a prosthetic device for the part of the brain devoted to learning and short-term memory. Next, Roya Sheybani, a Ph.D. student of Professor Ellis Meng, described new microelectromechanical pumps for targeted drug delivery in the body. She was followed by three students of Professor Gerald Loeb – Vikram Pandit (undergraduate student), Gary Lin (Ph.D. student), and Dr. Jeremy Fishel (alumnus) – who demonstrated a new prosthetic finger being developed by the USC Viterbi-launched startup company SynTouch, co-founded by Fishel and Loeb. The final presentation was given by Jessica Chen, an undergraduate student of Professor Kirk Shung, who showed that one can use ultrasound not just to image tissues in the body, but also to trap and move its cells.

Petraeus participated actively during the presentations, asking the presenters many questions about their research. He is scheduled to visit USC Viterbi several times more in the next few semesters.