National Medal of Science
For pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering, which has had tremendous impact in the fields of microcirculation, blood rheology and mechanotransduction in human health and disease.
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BirthJanuary 1, 1931
Country of BirthChina
Key ContributionsResearch in Fluid Dynamics of Blood Flow
Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
Awarded byBarack Obama
EducationNational Taiwan University
Areas of ImpactHealth & Medicine
AffiliationsUniversity of California, San Diego
People around the world are leading healthier lives thanks to bioengineer Shu Chien. His research on blood flow has led to vast improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Using an engineer’s mindset to study the human body, Chien has pioneered research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow that has opened new windows into its effect on blood cells and artery walls. In the 1960s, Chien published research that showed how red blood cells could change their shape to flow through small pores.
Chien, born in China, received a medical degree from the National Taiwan University before moving to the U.S. in 1954, where he earned a doctorate in physiology from Columbia University. He taught and researched at Columbia and in 1988 became a professor of bioengineering at the University of California-San Diego. He is the founding director of the university’s Institute of Engineering in Medicine.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and has received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian American Engineer of the Year Awards Committee.
By Robert Warren