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Shu Chien
Dr. Shu Chien is University Professor of Bioengineering and medicine of the entire University
of California system. Currently, among close to 9,000 professors in the UC system, there are twenty
University Professors, with about one half of them being emeritus.
At UCSD Dr. Chien is also Director of the Whitaker Institute of Biomedical Engineering, which he
founded in 1991, Chairman of the Department of Bioengineering, which he founded in 1994, and
Director of University of California System-wide “Bioengineering Institute in California”, which he
founded in 2003.
Dr. Chien received his premedical education from Peking University, his medical degree from
National Taiwan University, and his Ph.D. in Physiology from Columbia University, where he was
Professor of Physiology and Director of Circulatory Physiology and Biophysics from 1969 to 1988.
In 1988 he became Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine at UCSD. He led the efforts for
UCSD Bioengineering to win the Whitaker Foundation Development Award (1993) and Leadership
Award (1998), which allow the tremendous enhancement of infrastructure and the construction of a
new Bioengineering building. In 1994, the University of California established its first Department
of Bioengineering in UCSD and appointed Dr. Chien as the founding Chair, which he served the full
five-year term, and has been re-appointed from 2002 to 2005. Dr. Chien’s leadership has propelled
UCSD Bioengineering to be a top program in the United States and in the world.
Dr. Chien’s research focuses on molecular, cellular and integrative studies on bioengineering
and physiology in health and disease, especially in relation to the circulatory system. In his earlier
research career, Dr. Chien made important contributions to the analysis of the roles of the
sympathetic nervous system and transcapillary exchange in the compensatory adjustments to
hemorrhage and shock. In the 1970s he established the fundamental principles of the determinants
of the rheological properties of the blood in terms of cell concentration, plasma viscosity, cell
aggregation and cell deformation. In the 1980s he extended his rheological studies to single cells
and then to molecular levels. He formulated and validated the concept that red cell deformability is a
function of membrane flexibility, internal fluid viscosity and cell geometry and the thesis that red
cell aggregation represents an energy balance at the cell surface. He cloned and sequenced several
red cell membrane proteins and elucidated the molecular and mechanical bases of leukocyte
deformability and adhesion to endothelium. In the 1990s, he began to focus on studying the
molecular basis by which blood flow forces alter gene expression in vascular endothelial cells. He
has elucidated the roles of integrins, growth factor receptors, and the lipid bilayer as
mechanosensors, the interplays of adapter molecules and signal pathways, and the transactivation of
genes relevant to circulatory functions. The results have provided important insights into not only
the fundamental mechanisms of mechanotransduction, but also the molecular and mechanical
foundation of the preferential localization of atherosclerosis in regions of the vascular tree with
complex flow patterns. All these studies are characterized by the application of engineering
principles and techniques to solve important biomedical problems.
Dr. Chien is the author of over 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and editor of nine books. He
has received many awards and honors, including the Fahraeus Medal, Landis Award, Melville Medal
(twice), Zweifach Award, ALZA Award, Joseph Mather Smith Prize, Ray Daggs Award, Poiseuille
Gold Medal, and Galletti Award. Dr. Chien is a member of Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He is also
a member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, and American
Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He was President of the Microcirculatory
Society, American Chinese Medical Society, American Physiological Society, Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology, AIMBE, and International Society of Biorheology. He
is Chairman of Advisory Committees of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Academia Sinica
and the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan. He is an Honorary Member of Chinese
American Medical Society of New Jersey, Shanghai Biophysical Society, Chinese Association of
Physiological Scientists, and Chinese Physiological Society, and Honorary Professors of Peking
Medical University, Chungqing University, and the Microcirculatory Laboratory of the Chinese
Academy of Medical Sciences. Dr. Chien is a member of the Advisory Committee of several leading
biomedical engineering programs in the United States. He is Chair of the National Organizing
Committee of the2005 Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, and Chair of
the International Congress of Biorheology to be held in Chungqing in 2005. Dr. Chien is a national
and international leader in science and technology at the interface of biology, medicine and