Raffaella De Vita, professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech, has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows.

There are just 2,000 fellows, all of whom are selected due to being leaders in the medical and biological fields and distinguishing themselves through exceptional achievements, significant research contributions, and contributions to industrial practice and education.

De Vita joined Virginia Tech’s biomedical engineering and mechanics department as a visiting professor in 2006 and as a full-time faculty member one year later. She is currently the associate department head of the department and is the director of the Soft Tissue Research: Experiments, Theory, and Computation by Hokies (STRETCH) Lab.

In her lab, alongside students, she conducts research on characterizing the mechanical properties of soft biological systems by integrating advanced theoretical, experimental, and computational methods. Through her research activities and service to the profession, she has significantly contributed to the advancement of the female pelvic floor biomechanics field. This is an emerging field that has been historically under-researched in spite of the growing public health need. Throughout her years researching, she has afforded many students opportunities for experiential learning and has worked in interdisciplinary collaborative teams.

Photo of Raffaella De Vita on Virginia Tech's campus
Raffaella De Vita on Virginia Tech's campus. Photo by Peter Means of Virginia Tech.

De Vita has received numerous awards recognizing her excellence in research, teaching, and outreach and other accomplishments throughout her career thus far. In 2019, De Vita was elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Most notably, in 2012, she earned the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers starting on their independent career path. She received this award for her innovative research on the supportive structures of women’s reproductive organs. In 2017, De Vita received the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence from Virginia Tech, and in 2019 and in 2013, she received the Excellence in Access and Inclusion Award, given by Virginia Tech Student Affairs.

De Vita obtained a bachelor’s in mathematics from University of Naples II and both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

-Written by Laura McWhinney