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Media Contact: Denine Hagen
Telephone: 619-534-2920
FAX: 619-822-1009

July 17, 1998

Media Contact:
UC San Diego: Denine Hagen or Mario Aguilera
(619) 534-2920,

Note: Photograph available in print or electronic format

UC San Diego bioengineering professor given
eminent award by National Academy of Engineering

Yuan-Cheng Fung, professor emeritus of bioengineering and applied mechanics at the Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, has been given the prestigious Founders Award from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for pioneering work in biomedical engineering and aeronautics.

The NAE honored Fung "for superb accomplishments in biomechanics and aeroelasticity research, for broad contributions to the scientific discipline of biomechanics and for outstanding leadership and statesmanship in developing biomechanics as a discipline in the 20th century."

Established in 1965, the Founders Award honors "outstanding engineering accomplishments by an engineer over a long period of time and of benefit to the people of the United States." Fung will receive a gold medallion and a certificate Oct. 4 at the NAE's annual meeting.

"Professor Fung single-handedly opened up new horizons for biomedical engineering," said Shu Chien, chairman of the Department of Bioengineering. "His work has become the cornerstone of the research activities in many bioengineering departments in this country and abroad. His impacts are strong, far-reaching and long-lasting."

"This is an exciting honor for the whole Bioengineering Department, and for the Jacobs School of Engineering, to have such a distinguished award given to one of our colleagues," said Robert W. Conn, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Fung has been affiliated with UC San Diego since 1966. As a founding member of the bioengineering faculty, Fung helped shape and continues to bolster a Bioengineering Department that was ranked third best in the nation in 1998 by U.S. News & World Report and first in a 1995 survey by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council. Prior to UC San Diego, Fung made a number of important advances in the Department of Aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in 1948.

Fung is widely known as the father of biomechanics, an interdisciplinary field in which engineering principles are used to solve biomedical problems. He established the foundation of biomechanics in a variety of areas, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, muscle and skin. In the 1980s he initiated a new direction for bioengineering and coined the field as "tissue engineering."

He has written several authoritative books on biomechanics that are used as textbooks around the world, in addition to books on solid mechanics and continuum mechanics. Fung is one of the few members of all three U.S. National Academy branches: National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. He also is a member of the Academia Sinica and the Academy of Science of China.

Fung adds the Founders Award to a long list of honors that includes the Bioengineering Award from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineering (1995), the Distinguished Alumnus Award from California Institute of Technology (1994), the Timoshenko Medal (1991) and the Melville Medal (1994) from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Borelli Award from the American Society of Biomechanics (1992) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Chinese Scientists and Engineers of California (1992). In 1986 the ASME established the "Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award" in his honor.

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