UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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Shu Chien Appointed University Professor

The University of California (UC) Board of Regents has awarded the prestigious title of University Professor to Shu Chien, professor of bioengineering and medicine, and director of the Whitaker Institute of Bioengineering at UCSD. Chien is one of only 22 professors among the UC system's 7,758 faculty to hold the title.

Chien joined UCSD in 1988 and became the founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the Jacobs School in 1994. As principal investigator on the Whitaker Foundation Development Award (1993) and Leadership Award (1998), Chien played a major role in establishing UCSD's bioengineering program as one of the top two programs in the country. In addition to his teaching service at UCSD, Chien has been invited to give more than a dozen distinguished lectures at major universities across the country and serves on the advisory committees of several leading biomedical engineering programs in the U.S.

Chien's research focuses on cardiovascular bioengineering, and he studies how cells respond to mechanical forces in health and disease. He has elucidated the molecular basis by which blood flow forces alter gene expression in the endothelial cells that make up the walls of blood vessels and has identified the chain of events that transmit molecular signals from the cell membrane to activate genes in the nucleus. His work has uncovered new details about how low density lipoproteins (LDL) accumulate in the arteries. UCSD has also just received a U.S. patent on his invention of a gene therapy approach to prevent the re-occlusion of coronary arteries after balloon angioplasty.

In addition to the University Medal, Chien is this year’s recipient of the Poiseuille Gold Medal, the highest honor in Biorheology. Chien is the 13th scientist to receive the honor, which has also been bestowed on Jacobs School Bioengineering Professors Y.C. Fung and the late Richard Skalak.