News Release

Bioengineering Chair Shu Chien Elected to National Academy of Sciences

 Shu Chien
            New National Academy of Sciences 
            member Shu Chien, chair of UCSD's
                Department of Bioengineering
San Diego, CA, May 4, 2005 -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced this week that Jacobs School bioengineering chair Shu Chien and two other UCSD professors have been elected to the academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Chien joins UCSD emeritus professor Bert Fung among only eight scientists worldwide to hold simultaneous memberships in all three U.S. national academies - NAS, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. "I regard recruiting Shu as my greatest contribution to UCSD," says Fung, who brought Chien to the campus in 1988.

Chien has chaired the Department of Bioengineering almost non-stop since he created it in 1994, and holds appointments in both the Jacobs School and the UCSD School of Medicine. U.S. News ranks the department #2 among the nation's graduate bioengineering programs.

Joining Chien among NAS's 2005 honorees are fellow UCSD faculty members Gary Cox and Michael Karin. Cox is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science, and Karin is Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine.

 Shu Chien NAS

      Video profile of Shu
         Chien prior to his 
    election to the National
    Academy of Sciences.
        Length: 11:38

Professor Chien, 73, is an expert on how blood flow and pressure affect vessels.  His research has led to the development of better diagnostic tests and treatments for atherosclerosis and other diseases.  Like Fung, he is also a member of Taiwan's Academia Sinica, and in 2002, he was named a University Professor, a distinction held by only 20 faculty members in the entire UC system. Earlier this year, he also received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian American Engineer of the Year awards committee. He was cited for his pioneering work in bioengineering and the role he has played in grooming the next generation of Asian American engineers.

Chien received his M.D. from National Taiwan University, and his Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University, where he joined the faculty in 1958. In 1987 he took a sabbatical from Columbia to set up Taiwan's Institute of Biomedical Sciences. Eighteen months later, Chien returned to the United States but left Columbia to join UCSD.

In 1991 Chien created a cross-campus institute and led the successful effort to win a $5 million, five-year award from the Whitaker Foundation (one of only three from a field of over 60 original proposals). The center was interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on tissue engineering science. It was eventually renamed the Whitaker Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Chien led a second effort with the Whitaker Foundation and the Charles Lee Powell Foundation which gave $25 million in 1988 towards a bioengineering building on the campus. Since moving into the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall two years ago, Chien has hired five new faculty members and launched a multi-campus research unit with the nine other UC campuses.

Professors Chien, Cox and Karin join 64 other members of the UCSD faculty who previously have been named to membership in the prestigious academy.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Media Contacts

Rex Graham
Jacobs School of Engineering