james b. grotberg, md, phd

Director, NASA Bioscience & Engineering Institute
Biomedical Engineering Department



Dr. Grotberg is currently a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan.  He is also the Director of the University of Michigan - NASA Bioscience and Engineering Institute. He was an undergraduate at Cornell University in Biology, received his PhD in Fluid Mechanics at Johns Hopkins University, and then an MD from the University of Chicago.  Following his internship year, he joined the faculty at Northwestern University from 1981 to 1998 jointly appointed in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Anesthesiology. During that period he practiced Emergency Medicine in the Chicago and downstate Illinois regions.  In 1998 he joined the University of Michigan.   

Dr. Grotberg’s research focuses on biofluid dynamics and biotransport, primarily in the respiratory system.  These include experimental and theoretical investigations of surfactant replacement therapy, aerosol delivery into the lung, microgravity ventilation, airway closure and reopening, flow induced oscillations such as wheezing and its relation to flow limitation, obstructive sleep apnea, liquid ventilation, high frequency ventilation, and implantable artificial lungs.  In addition with colleagues he has collaborated to develop “Lung-on-a-Chip” microfluidics technology for testing pulmonary cells in controlled mechanical and chemical challenges.  His work has been funded by NIH, NSF, NASA, NATO, BSF (Israel-US), ANR (France), The Coulter Foundation, The Whitaker Foundation, and industry.

Dr. Grotberg is a member of the select US National Committee on Biomechanics, a Fellow of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, an Inaugural Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  The latter cited him as “the leading Biofluid Dynamicist in the United States and among the top two or three in the world.”   

Dr. Grotberg is an Associate Editor of Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics and Biophysical Journal, and a previous Associate Editor of Physics of Fluids and Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. He was the Kenan Distinguished Professor at Princeton University (2009) and holds visiting appointments in the Department of Physics at Ecole Polytechnique and the Department of Applied Mathematics at Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan in Paris, France.   During the course of his research and teaching, Dr. Grotberg has given 91 keynote and invited lectures,  published 127 refereed journal articles, 14 book chapters, 253 proceedings and abstracts, and has an H-index of 28.  He has accomplished this while mentoring 60 trainees, 28 of whom have gone on to become professors of medicine, engineering, mathematics and physics around the world.   

Dr. Grotberg is active in the Detroit inner urban community with minority youth groups.