News Release

Medical Device Pioneer Named to Endowed Chair at UCSD

Juan Lasheras, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and first holder of the Stanford S. and Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering and Applied Science.

San Diego, CA, February 12, 2008 -- UC San Diego today announced that Juan C. Lasheras, a distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been appointed the first holder of the Stanford S. and Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering and Applied Science in the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering. Lasheras, an international expert on the mechanics and computer modeling of fluid flows, including blood flow, has won numerous “Teacher of the Year” awards and also is an outspoken champion of UC San Diego and the profession of engineering.

The new chair, the 27th at the Jacobs School, was made possible primarily by a gift from the Penners. Stanford S. “Sol” Penner, an emeritus professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, launched the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences in 1964 as the first engineering department at UCSD. The Jacobs School now has six departments and is ranked 13th among the nation's top 191 engineering schools.

Sol Penner is a skilled academic researcher who has been not only an important educational leader at UCSD, but also an important mentor in my professional life,” said Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School. “It is fitting that Juan Lasheras be the inaugural holder of this chair, because he’s also a dynamic researcher and leader who excels in situations that call for vision, perseverance, and organizational skill.”

Lasheras was trained as an aeronautical engineer and conducts laboratory and mathematical modeling of flows relevant to a wide range of applications, from naval hydrodynamics and propulsion to vascular hemodynamics. He received the F.N. Frenkiel Award for Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society in 1990, and has won many other awards in recognition of his pioneering research. His interest in fluid flows has broadened to include an area of study he has pioneered, bio-mechanical fluid dynamics.

Lasheras designed the first medical device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to induce hypothermia, and he holds 39 patents for technology used in medical devices. The San Diego-based company he co-founded, InnerCool therapies, Inc., is a technology leader in the field of therapeutic hypothermia, which involves the lowering of a patient’s body temperature. Hypothermia therapy has emerged as a surprisingly effective treatment for myocardial infarcts, stroke, and severe neurological trauma.

His research is currently focused on chemotaxis and cell migration, and the complex interaction between mechanical stimuli acting on blood vessels and the pathophysiology of blood vessel remodeling that is responsible for the enlargement of cerebrovascular and abdominal aortic aneurysms.


Media Contacts

Rex Graham
Jacobs School of Engineering