The ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering has a tradition of annually publishing papers contributed by winners of the medals offered by the ASME Bioengineering Division, namely, the Lissner, Woo, Nerem, Mow, and Fung medals. Four of these papers appear in this special issue, with one to follow (for the Lissner medal) in the future. Here, we describe these medals and briefly introduce the winners.
The H. R. Lissner Medal recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of bioengineering. These achievements may be in the form of (1) significant research contributions in bioengineering; (2) development of new methods of measuring in bioengineering; (3) design of new equipment and instrumentation in bioengineering; (4) educational impact on the training of bioengineers; and/or (5) service to the bioengineering community, in general, and to the Bioengineering Division of ASME, in particular. The Bioengineering Division of ASME established the H. R. Lissner Award as a divisional award in 1977. It was upgraded to a society award in 1987, made possible by a donation from Wayne State University, and is named in honor of Professor H. R. Lissner of Wayne State University for his pioneering work in biomechanics that began in 1939.
The winner of the H. R. Lissner medal for 2021 is Dr. C. Ross Ethier, Ph.D. Dr. Ethier holds the Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr. Chair in Bioengineering and is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, he was Head of the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College, London for 5 years, and Director of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto for 2 years before that. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1986, his S.M. from MIT in 1983, his M. Math from Waterloo in 1982, and his B.Sc. from Queen's University in 1980. Dr. Ethier is a Fellow of ASME, AIMBE, IAMBE, ARVO, BMES, and the City and Guilds Institute.
His research is in the biomechanics of cells and whole organs, with specific emphasis on ocular biomechanics. He works on developing treatments for glaucoma, the second most common cause of blindness, and for SANS, a syndrome affecting astronauts which is a major NASA human health concern. He has developed a new paradigm of how pressure within the eye is regulated and how the sclera plays a major and unexpected role in influencing vision loss in glaucoma. He has published approximately 220 refereed journal articles and two books and received both Steacie and Humboldt Fellowships. His work has attracted approximately 15,000 citations and has an h-index of 73 (Google Scholar). Dr. Ethier has been active in the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for many years, including as Chair of the Division and, currently, as co-Editor of the ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. He is recognized for his outstanding contributions to ocular biomechanics, specifically the biomechanics of intraocular pressure regulation and optic nerve head biomechanics in glaucoma; for mentoring and training the next generation of biomechanical engineers; and for internationally recognized leadership within the biomechanics community.
The Savio L.-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal was established in June 2015 as a society-level award and recognizes a sustained level of meritorious contributions in translating bioengineering research to clinical application, to improve the quality of life. This award is named in honor of Savio Lau-Yuen Woo, Ph.D., a distinguished University Professor of Bioengineering and the Founder and Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC), a diverse multidisciplinary research and educational center in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Beyond pioneering and world-renowned scholarly contributions, Professor Woo has made an enormous impact in 40 years of translational research that has significantly contributed to the delivery of healthcare. Any member of ASME who has demonstrated a sustained level of outstanding achievement in translating bioengineering findings to the clinical community may be eligible for this medal.
The 2021 Woo medal awardee is Dr. Danny Bluestein, Ph.D., a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University. Dr. Bluestein received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, and a Master of Science degree in fluid mechanics and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Prof. Bluestein's research interests include the elucidation of physical forces that regulate cellular function in flowing blood, and translation of this knowledge to numerical and experimental strategies aimed at optimizing the thromboresistance of Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) devices, multiscale modeling of thrombosis, and enhancing clinical diagnostics of cardiovascular diseases processes and progression for developing strategies to achieve better clinical outcomes of procedures and devices for patients who suffer from these diseases. He is the author of ca. 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He serves as an associate editor and a member of the editorial board of several bioengineering journals, is an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Bioengineering Division of the ASME, and served as the chair of the BED Biofluids technical committee and the Steering Committee of the NIH Multiscale Modeling (MSM) Consortium. Previous awards include the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Quantum award from the NIH-NIBIB. He is a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Dr. Bluestein is inducted into the National Academy of Inventors, and he is dedicated to training the next generation of biomedical engineers. He is recognized for his international leadership in the study of cardiovascular biomechanics, thrombosis, and the thrombogenicity of medical devices that have illuminated the subtle processes at play when blood and platelets are subjected to turbulent or highly disturbed flow fields; and for translation of this knowledge to optimization of blood recirculating devices for improved thromboresistance.
The Robert M. Nerem Education and Mentorship Medal is given to an individual who has demonstrated a sustained level of outstanding achievement in the education and mentoring of trainees. Examples of meritorious activities include leadership within the nominee's institution, mentoring activities that are above and beyond those expected from others employed in similar positions, mentoring activities tailored to meet the needs of the trainees, and innovative mentoring activities.
Dr. Maury L. Hull, Ph.D., is the 2021 winner of the Nerem medal. Dr. Hull is a distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California Davis where he holds appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1969 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees also in mechanical engineering from the University of California Berkeley in 1970 and 1975. He became a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Davis in 1976. Dr. Hull's research activities encompass orthopedic biomechanics with emphasis on the human knee, musculoskeletal system modeling and simulation of movement, and sports biomechanics and equipment design. In recognition of his research achievements, he has received various awards including the Giovanni Borelli Award from the American Society of Biomechanics in 1989, the H. R. Lissner Medal from the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2007, and honorary membership in the Personalized Arthroplasty Society in 2020.
During his distinguished career, he introduced seven new undergraduate and graduate courses and developed unique experiments for existing laboratory courses. As a result of teaching these courses and others, he received the UC Davis Engineering Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002. He has mentored 90 graduate advisees and research orthopedic residents who are lead authors on most of his 240 papers published in scientific journals. From 1993 until 2000 he served as Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program and played a leadership role in creating a new Department of Biomedical Engineering launched in 2001. This department now has 35 full-time faculty members, 400 undergraduate students, 100 graduate students, and annual research expenditures in excess of $17 million. Also, while serving as Graduate Program Chair, he spearheaded the creation of the annual University of California Systemwide Biomedical Engineering Symposium. This symposium typically attracts upwards of 200 attendees from the 10 UC campuses with large participation by students. Dr. Hull was active in the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in various leadership positions for 15 years including Chair of the Division in 2003. As Division Chair, he led the formation of the annual Summer Bioengineering Conference (now the SB3C conference) typically attended by 800 participants including a large proportion of students.
The Van C. Mow Medal is bestowed upon an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, as a mentor to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community. The individual must have earned a Ph.D. or equivalent degree between 10- and 20-years prior to June 1 of the year of the award. The award was established by the Bioengineering Division in 2004.
Dr. Rafael V. Davalos, Ph.D., is the 2021 recipient of the Mow medal. He is the L. Preston Wade Professor in the Virginia Tech—Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. He is Director of Virginia Tech's Center for Engineered Health, and Co-Leader of the Signaling and Biotechnology Program for the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Davalos serves on the executive committee as treasurer of the ASME Bioengineering Division and as treasurer on the council for the International Society for Electroporation Based Technologies and Treatments. He currently serves on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Bioelectricity, Cancers, and Electrophoresis. Previously, he has served on the editorial board for the ASME Journal of Medical Devices, as the information chair for the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference, and as vice-chair of the biotransport group within the Bioengineering Division.
Dr. Davalos' research interests are in microfluidics for personalized medicine and developing technologies for cancer therapy. He is most recognized for co-inventing irreversible electroporation (IRE), a nonthermal minimally invasive surgical technique for soft tissue ablation which preserves major blood vessels, nerves, and the extracellular matrix. This form of cancer therapy received the Expedited Pathway Designation in 2018 and has been used to help thousands of patients worldwide. He is further developing an advanced form of the technology with potential for immunotherapy, and also as a new method to treat brain cancer. Dr. Davalos has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed articles, 16 book chapters, 10 journal/book covers with an h-index of 59 (>12,000 citations), and has 36 issued patents. Dr. Davalos is an ASME and AIMBE Fellow.
The Y. C. Fung Early Career Award is given to young investigators who are committed to pursuing research in the field of Bioengineering and have demonstrated significant potential to make substantial contributions to the field of Bioengineering. Such accomplishments may take the form of but are not limited to, the design or development of new methods, equipment, or instrumentation in bio-engineering; and research publications in peer-reviewed journals. The award was established by the Bioengineering Division in 1985 and operated as a division award until 1998 when it was elevated to a Society award.
Dr. Kristin S. Miller, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tulane University, is the recipient of the 2021 Fung Award. After receiving a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University, she completed her Ph.D. in Bioengineering under the mentorship of Dr. Louis J. Soslowsky at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation research focused on quantifying how collagen fiber alignment changes during mechanical testing in developing tendons. She then moved to Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Jay D. Humphrey. At Yale, her work focused on mathematical modeling frameworks that predict the salient features of tissue-engineered vascular graft evolution following implantation in murine vasculature, with particular consideration to loss of the polymeric scaffold and subsequent production of neotissue.
Since 2014, Dr. Miller has directed the Biomechanics of Growth and Remodeling Laboratory. Dr. Miller and colleagues have (1) assessed the biaxial mechanical function, extracellular matrix composition, and residual strain in the murine female reproductive system, (2) evaluated the role and interaction of elastic fibers and smooth muscle contractility in the murine vagina, and (3) advanced understanding of structural and mechanical processes during pelvic organ prolapse progression. Dr. Miller has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 60 conference abstracts. Her team's research is supported by the NIH, NSF, and foundations. Dr. Miller is immensely grateful to her mentors, colleagues/collaborators, and trainees, including the ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference and the SB3C community. She has been active in the Bioengineering Division since 2009 and currently serves as the co-chair of the other solids theme and on the student paper competition committees. Dr. Miller received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award in 2018.