Eva Lai, PhD

Dr. Eva Lai is Director for Partnerships and Innovations, Swanson School of Engineering; Visiting Research Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; Scientific Liaison, Center for Military Medicine Research, Schools of the Health Sciences, all at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Lai brings leadership, strategic planning, broad technical expertise, program development, and management experience that spans 20 years across research institutions and government agencies. She earned a PhD in chemical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and later worked as a senior scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Her experience encompasses building large, complex, multidisciplinary research programs, including executing $1 billion dollars in robotics research and development in a single solicitation for NASA, and several hundreds of million dollars annually across multiple research programs for the Department of Defense. As Deputy Chief Scientist at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) for the US Army, she provided technical oversight of $500 million dollars in annual research program funding that required strategic planning from program conception to integrations and tech transfer. Dr. Lai served as the technical architect in the multi-agency program development that launched the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), and she built partnerships with the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance innovative biomedical products that benefit the public and the warfighters. In addition, Dr. Lai developed multiple, other research programs from medical simulations to other advanced biomedical technologies, securing $40M in funding (2010 – 2021) by leveraging the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. As the Director for Mobile Health Computing Group at TATRC, Dr. Lai directed $2 million dollars in annual research expenditure to develop and test novel products that had a direct impact on the care of service members in the field. As research faculty at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Lai pursued advances in biomedical technologies and worked closely with the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Medicine senior leaders to advance research developments, including the launching of the Military and Veterans Health Institute.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Lai aims to leverage her knowledge, skills, and experiences to develop partnerships for the university’s investigators with key government subject matter experts and stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions for communities and the nation.

View a list of Dr. Lai’s publications here.