2023 IBB Antiracism Distinguished Lecture

"Things Fall Apart"

Manu Platt, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator, National Institutes of Health

Director, Biomedical Engineering Technology Acceleration (BETA Center)
Associate Director, Scientific Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)


  • 11:00 a.m.   IBB Antiracism Distinguished Lecture - “Things Fall Apart”
  • Noon           Community Lunch

As scientists and engineers, one of the earliest concepts we learn about is entropy. Entropy can be defined as the measure of randomness or disorder of a system, and there is a tendency in nature for systems to proceed towards disorder. Anti-racist practices, structures, and procedures can be built up and implemented through social movements, laws, willpower, and inputs of energy, but entropy and complacency will lead to those efforts being disbanded and disordered, becoming random aberrations correlating in time only with brief periods of social upheaval. Platt will highlight anti-racist improvements from the Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience and associated community efforts and discuss the importance of sustained attention. More importantly, he will warn of the threat of entropy, because without additional energy inputs, things fall apart.

Manu Platt, Ph.D., is director of the NIH-wide Center for Biomedical Engineering Technology Acceleration (BETA Center), housed within the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Intramural Research Program. The BETA Center serves as a model to bring a focused engineering approach for NIH researchers across disciplines to accelerate the development, validation and dissemination of cutting-edge technologies As the BETA Center director, Platt will work to expand opportunities for biomedical engineering training and professional growth, including supporting individuals from diverse backgrounds. In addition, Dr. Platt is NIBIB associate director for Scientific Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Formerly, Platt was professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the Walter H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He also was Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Cancer Scientist and Deputy Director, Interdisciplinary Bioengineering Graduate Program at Georgia Tech Walter H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Fellow.

As a scientific investigator for cutting-edge biomedical research projects, Platt has received numerous grants and research support from NIH, the National Science Foundation, the International AIDS Society and the Georgia Cancer Coalition, among other public and private research institutions. He has served on numerous review committees at NIH, is a member the Biomedical Engineering Society board of directors and is a former member of the NIBIB National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Platt earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in Atlanta.  He was a postdoctoral fellow in biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

A nationally-recognized leader in expanding diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Platt is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the NIH Director New Innovator award, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor award, and the Biomedical Engineering Society Diversity Award. He co-founded Project ENGAGES: Engaging New Generations at Georgia Tech through Engineering and Science, which provides paid research lab experience for Atlanta area African American high school students, and directed the Georgia Tech Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Educational Diversity grant program, an NIH training program to increase and support diversity at the undergraduate level. Platt is a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

This event is brought to you by the IBB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Manu Platt, Ph.D.