Joseph T. Walsh Jr., professor of biomedical engineering and senior associate dean at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., has been appointed vice president for research, Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen announced today. Walsh will assume his new duties in December, succeeding physical chemist C. Bradley Moore, who served in the position for four years. Walsh joined the McCormick faculty as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in 1988 and has served as senior associate dean since 2005. His National Institutes of Health-funded research is in biomedical optics, with an emphasis on therapeutic uses of lasers, diagnostic uses of polarized light, and development of nanostructured surfaces for analyte sensing. Provost Daniel Linzer said Walsh's early research on laser-tissue interactions helped frame the understanding of laser ablation, forming the scientific foundation for now standard laser-based procedures in medicine and surgery. "In the past decade, his research has focused on diagnostic and therapeutic applications of light. Walsh and collaborators in otolaryngology have demonstrated the optical stimulation of sensory nerves with one goal being high spatial resolution stimulation for improved cochlear prosthetics," Linzer said. Walsh is also working with a team to develop optical sensors for quantification of analytes such as glucose, with the goal of improving diabetes management. In collaboration with clinicians in obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology and urology on the Chicago campus and at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, he has developed a polarization-based optical imaging system for improved detection of various lesions. Walsh served as 2003-04 president of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery and was awarded the group’s William B. Mark Award in 2006.