Cheryl R. Blanchard, Cockrell School of Engineering alumna and CEO of Microchips Biotech Inc., has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Blanchard, who received both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, was recognized for the creation and commercialization of biomaterial products and gender-based medical devices for musculoskeletal health.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer, and Blanchard is one of 67 newly elected members this year. She will be formally inducted into the academy during the NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 4, in Washington, D.C.

“We are proud of Cheryl and congratulate her on this tremendous honor,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School and an NAE member. “As a Texas Engineering alumna who has spent her career improving lives and shaping an industry, Cheryl has inspired and set a powerful example for our community.”

According to the NAE, academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

About Cheryl Blanchard (M.S. ’89, Ph.D. ’94)

A medical device and biologics expert with over 25 years of leadership experience, Blanchard joined Microchips Biotech Inc. in July 2014 as its chief executive officer. Prior to this role she was senior vice president of Zimmer Inc., a medical device company focused on musculoskeletal products, where she helped lead the company’s global research and development; advanced technologies; clinical, quality and regulatory affairs; medical affairs; medical education; and health economics and reimbursement. She created, built and led the biologics business at Zimmer through strategic execution of an R&D pipeline and partnering and business development activities.

Prior to Zimmer, Blanchard built and led the medical device practice at Southwest Research Institute while also serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center located in San Antonio. She received a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Alfred University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.