William J. Federspiel, PhD

Dr. William Federspiel joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 as an Associate Professor. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1984 and has held academic positions in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and Boston University. His past industrial experience includes being a Principal Staff Scientist at ABIOMED Inc., a Boston based artificial heart company, and a Research Scientist at the Biomechanics Institute in Boston, a nonprofit bioengineering think-tank. In addition to his current academic position, Dr. Federspiel is a Founder of ALung Technologies, a Pittsburgh based medical start-up company, for which he serves as the head of the scientific advisory board.

Currently, Dr. Federspiel is the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Critical Care Medicine. He is also the Director of the Medical Devices Laboratory at the McGowan Institute. The major research theme of the Medical Devices Laboratory is the development of medical devices whose therapeutic function stems from biotransport and bioseparation processes and which can be translated for near-term clinical use in critical care medicine.

A span of Dr. Federspielís research interests include:

  • Design and development of novel artificial lung devices, including respiratory support catheters and paracorporeal assist lungs, for near-term clinical use in the treatment of respiratory failure in patients with acute, acute on chronic, or chronic lung insufficiencies.
  • Design and development of membrane and particle-based blood purification devices for the selective or semi-selective and patterned removal of pathogenic antibodies, inflammatory mediators, and other blood borne solutes for near-term clinical use in critical care settings.
  • Advancing the development of novel artificial lung platforms for future applications by combining microfabrication and fiber technology with cellular and biomolecular components to create biohybrid artificial alveolar capillary units and bioactive hollow fibers with improved gas exchange efficiency and capacity.
  • Developing improved transport models and understanding of polymer degradation and drug delivery from nanoparticles and microparticles.
  • Advanced application of fluid mechanics and mass transport principles to model and optimize artificial lungs and other membrane-based medical devices where functional performance depends on underlying transport or separation principles that dictate the device characteristics.
  • Development of mathematical and computer simulation models related to respiratory and cardiovascular fluid mechanics and mass transport.
  • Development of oxygen depletion devices for blood storage systems that will extend the shelf life of red cell units and deliver red cells of higher efficacy and lower toxicity for transfusion therapy.

A few of the many career acknowledgements of Dr. Federspielís work include being a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), in which he is also a member of the AIMBE Advocacy Committee (2011). He is also a member of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO). He served as a regular member of the NIH Study Section on Bioengineering, Technology and Surgical Sciences (BTSS) from 2009-2013 and has been an ad-hoc member of over 20 other NIH Study Sections. He is the Biomedical Engineering Section Editor of the ASAIO Journal and appointed to the Editorial Board of the journal Medical Instrumentation (2013) and the Honorary Editorial Board of Medical Devices: Evidence and Research (2008).

Dr. Federspiel has over 100 peer reviewed journal articles or book chapters published or in press, over 100 proceedings and abstracts, and over 75 invited talks at national and international universities and meetings. A view of a list of some of Dr. Federspielís publications is here.


Dr. William J. Federspiel
Phone: (412) 383-9499
Email: federspielwj@upmc.edu