About the College > Distinguished Alumni > Yaszemski, Michael J.

Yaszemski, Michael J.

After completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, Michael J. Yaszemski ’77, ‘78G, went on to earn an M.D. at Georgetown, a surgical fellowship at Harvard, a doctorate in chemistry at MIT, and, most recently, an appointment as the chair of spine surgery and directorship of his own biomedical engineering lab at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Today Yaszemski is professor of orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering at the Mayo Clinic and director of the Polymeric Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory. He is also a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve where he serves as the mobilization assistant to the Assistant Surgeon General for Health Care Operations, Washington, D.C. 

Mayo's orthopedics department is ranked as the top program in the United States, and Yaszemski's research work as director of the clinic's polymeric biomaterials and tissue engineering lab is the very definition of "cutting edge." The lab investigates bone, cartilage, and spinal cord regeneration using synthetic polymeric scaffolds, cells, and controlled delivery of bioactive molecules. Currently, he is Mayo's principal investigator participating in a new consortium – the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine – dedicated to developing new techniques for treating American servicemen and women injured in war, techniques that could also benefit the civilian populace one day. Yaszemski's focus will be on bone and nerve regeneration.

Yaszemski, who also served as offensive tackle on the Lehigh football team, is a current member of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees.

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Michael J. Yaszemski

Birth: 1955

Degree: Chemical Engineering (B.A. and Masters)

Graduation: '77, '78G

Notable Achievement: Recipient of 2013 William M. Tipton, Jr. MD Leadership Award; Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve; Member, Lehigh University Board of Trustees