Ann Saterbak

Biomedical Engineering

Director, First-Year Design Program

Ann  Saterbak Profile Photo
Ann Saterbak Profile Photo

Research Interests

Innovations in undergraduate engineering education, particularly new pedagogical methods that broaden students’ problem solving skills and design thinking.


Ann Saterbak is director of the Duke Engineering First-Year Experience and a professor of the practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is a nationally recognized engineering educator with a focus on creating undergraduate programs that broaden students problem solving skills through real-world problems, inquiry-based learning, and hands-on experiences. In fall 2017, she launched a new hands-on design course for first-year Pratt students.

Before coming to Duke, she was the associate dean for engineering education and full teaching professor in bioengineering in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. At Rice, she launched a successful first-year engineering design course in which students solved community-based, client-driven problems and built physical prototypes. Her outstanding teaching at Rice was recognized by four university-wide teaching awards. She is the lead author of the textbook Bioengineering Fundamentals.

For her contribution to education within biomedical engineering, she was elected a fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Society of Engineering Education. Saterbak has been a frequent presenter of educational materials at annual ASEE and BMES conferences. In building the undergraduate bioengineering laboratory at Rice, she applied four years of industry experience working at the Shell Development Company.


  • Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1995


  • Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Director of the Duke Engineering First Year Experience
  • Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • AIMBE Professional Impact Award. American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering. 2022
  • Lois and John L. Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2019
  • Nicolas Salgo Distinguished Teacher Award. Rice University. 2015
  • Fellow. American Institute of Medicine and Biology. 2015
  • Fellow. American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). 2014
  • Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award. ASEE BED National Award. 2013
  • George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. Rice University. 2013
  • Fellow. Biomedical Engineering Society. 2012
  • George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Rice University. 2011
  • Robert G. Quinn Award for Excellence in Laboratory Instruction. ASEE National Award. 2007

Courses Taught

  • HOUSECS 59: House Course
  • EGR 95FS: First Year seminar in Focus
  • EGR 102L: Design to Deliver
  • EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 260L: Modeling Cellular and Molecular Systems