No. 1 From the Start

UC San Diego Bioengineering ranked first by National Research Council since founding 50 years ago —

Bioengineers at UC San Diego have helped us understand why atherosclerosis develops and how it is impacted by blood flow. They have pioneered the development of very thin, small and flexible sensors that stick to the skin and monitor vital signs, such as the brain activity of a newborn. They also developed injectable hydrogels that can help muscle tissues heal after a heart attack.

Researchers celebrated their achievements over the past five decades and looked to the future during a three-day 50th anniversary celebration May 19 to 21. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Shu Chien, PhD

Shu Chien, PhD

The founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering is Shu Chien, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology and Professor of Bioengineering. He is founding director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Dr. Chien is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many honorific societies, and he received the Franklin Institute Award in November 2015.

Professor Shu Chien Receives Prestigious Franklin Institute Award

November 16, 2015

Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 2015 – Shu Chien, founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, where is he currently a professor and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, has received the prestigious Franklin Institute Award.

The award is conferred by the Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute. It has gone in previous years to an extraordinary list of great men and women who have significantly improved our world with their pioneering innovations, including Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, and more recently Jane Goodall, Dean Kamen and Bill Gates. … Read the full press release from the Jacobs School of Engineering

Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

In addition to his leadership roles in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Engineering in MedicineShu Chien, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

In a recent major development in his scientific explorations, Dr. Chien is one of four principal investigators in the organizational hub of the $30 million 4D Nucleome Research Centers and Organizational Hub grant the National Institutes of Health awarded to UC San Diego in October.

The goal of the project is to determine how DNA is arranged within the cell’s nucleus in four dimensions (three-dimensional space plus time) and how changes in that nuclear organization affect human health and disease.

More information about Dr. Chien and his work:

“A High Life” Symposium Honors the First 50 years in the Remarkable Career of Dr. John B. West

Dr. John B. West, UCSD Division of PhysiologyWorld leaders in respiratory research gathered here in a special symposium December 14 to honor the career of a luminary UCSD scientist and educator, Professor John B. West, MD, PhD, DSc, a member of the Division of Physiology in the UCSD Department of Medicine.

Dr. West is a world-renowned respiratory physiologist and high-altitude scientist and historian.

During the past 50 years, he has illuminated diverse aspects of respiratory physiology and has inspired countless other researchers around the world.

He is Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UCSD, and will become Professor Emeritus in January 2008. However, he plans to continue unabated his current roles in research, education and writing.

Titled “A High Life” and known here on campus as the “WestFest,” the December 14 event paid tribute to the first 50 years of Dr. West’s scientific career with a day-long program of presentations.

“The celebration was a great success,” said Dr. Peter D. Wagner, Chief of the Division of Physiology and lead organizer of the WestFest.

He said nearly 100 distinguished visitors, UCSD faculty, and guests attended the day-long event.  View the symposium program (PDF)

Cover of brochure for A High Life, a symposium in honor of Dr. John B. WestThe WestFest presenters spoke on seven facets of respiratory function, addressing all of the major areas into which Dr. West’s groundbreaking work has extended.

Dr. West’s studies have explored the effects of reduced gravity and, separately, decreased oxygen availability on pulmonary function, in venues from Tibet and Everest to the International Space Station. His findings are published in over 450 scientific articles and more than 20 books.

He was the first to study the respiratory effects of high altitude on the high slopes of Everest, joining Sir Edmund Hillary in the Silver Hut expedition of 1960-1961.

The WestFest program concluded with Dr. West’s own retrospective, “Highs and Lows in Three Countries.”

After the presentations, Dr. Ken Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, presented Dr. West with a framed copy of the day’s program signed by all speakers, a bound volume of tributes penned by many of Dr. West’s colleagues who could not attend, and a bound edition of all of his research papers from 1957-2007.

The day’s events ended with an evening reception and dinner at the UCSD Faculty Club.

The symposium was recorded on video and will be released as a 4-DVD set in January 2008.

Cover of brochure for A High Life, a symposium in honor of Dr. John B. West
Available on DVD
in January 2008

To order copies of the DVD set: Send an email to Dr. Wagner ( or Lisa Richter ( with:

  • Your contact information
  • The number of sets you wish to purchase.

Payment ($25.00 per 4-DVD set) will be requested when the DVDs are ready for mailing in early January.

More Information