Glenn Walker Brings Expertise to UM’s New Biomedical Engineering Program

Associate professor of electrical engineering helped create similar program at North Carolina State University

Glenn Walker, associate professor of electrical engineering, is helping launch the biomedical engineering program at the University of Mississippi. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

When the decision was made to launch a biomedical engineering program at the University of Mississippi, Glenn Walker knew he wanted to be a part of it.

“I helped establish the biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University when I started my academic career there in 2004,” said Walker, associate professor of electrical engineering and a faculty member in the UM biomedical engineering program. “I enjoyed that experience very much, and when I saw the opportunity to help establish another new program, I jumped at the chance.”

Not only did Walker help establish that biomedical engineering program, but he was also voted Teacher of the Year by the BME students at NC State.

“That has been my most fulfilling professional achievement thus far,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see the hard work pay off and to know that I had an impact on some of my students.”

The opportunity to have someone with Walker’s expertise and experience was equally attractive to UM administrators.

“Dr. Walker brings years of experience as both a veteran researcher and a highly skilled educator,” said Dwight Waddell, director of the BME program and associate professor of electrical engineering. “A new program like ours strongly benefits from the addition of such a senior-level faculty member. We are lucky to have Glenn with us.”

Walker, who joined the UM faculty in July 2018, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Louisiana Tech University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University.

“I was attracted to the University of Mississippi in particular because of its focus on providing a top-notch education for students,” Walker said. “My experience so far has been great. The ‘Hotty Toddy’ spirit on campus is pervasive, and when you talk to people, you can just feel that everyone is on the same team, doing what they can to make the university as good as it can be. It’s like being at Disney World, but with academics instead of people in costumes.”

Walker taught Introduction to Biomedical Engineering last fall and is teaching Biomedical Controls this spring. His research interest is in the field of microfluidics.

“Microfluidic devices are devices made with the same techniques that are used in the microprocessor industry, but instead of making microscopic transistors and resistors, we make tiny pumps and valves,” Walker said. “We can create devices capable of manipulating single biological cells and then perform experiments on them. These devices lend themselves well to improving the drug discovery process, so I’m very excited about the potential collaborations here on campus with the School of Pharmacy and with the UM Medical Center in Jackson.”

Walker said his short-term goals are to get his lab running and to develop new courses for the BME program. A long-term goal is to help make the BME department a magnet for students from all over the world.

“I will achieve these goals through blood, sweat and tears, but not necessarily in that order,” he said.

Walker’s wife, Kristen, is a French instructor in UM’s Department of Modern Languages. The couple has two children: Hayden, 15, and Meredith, 10.