Shu Chien, M.D., Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 1992
For his opening of a new horizon for research on blood rheology, cell mechanics, and circulatory transport.

Ultrasound remotely triggers immune cells to attack tumors in mice without toxic side effects

Via UC San Diego | August 12, 2021

Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a cancer immunotherapy that pairs ultrasound with cancer-killing immune cells to destroy malignant tumors while sparing normal tissue.

The new experimental therapy significantly slowed down the growth of solid cancerous tumors in mice.

The team, led by the labs of UC San Diego bioengineering professor Peter Yingxiao Wang and bioengineering professor emeritus Shu Chien, detailed their work in a paper published Aug. 12 in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The work addresses a longstanding problem in the field of cancer immunotherapy: how to make chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy safe and effective at treating solid tumors… Continue reading.

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

Via UC San Diego | January 15, 2018

A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

There is a critical need to non-invasively and remotely manipulate cells at a distance, particularly for translational applications in animals and humans, researchers said.

The team developed an innovative approach to use mechanogenetics—a field of science that focuses on how physical forces and changes in the mechanical properties of cells and tissues influence gene expression—for the remote control of gene and cell activations. Researchers used ultrasound to mechanically perturb T cells, and then converted the mechanical signals into genetic control of cells… Continue reading.

Smart molecules trigger white blood cells to become better cancer-eating machines

Via UC San Diego | September 28, 2017

San Diego, Calif., Sept. 28, 2017 — A team of researchers has engineered smart protein molecules that can reprogram white blood cells to ignore a self-defense signaling mechanism that cancer cells use to survive and spread in the body. Researchers say the advance could lead to a new method of re-engineering immune cells to fight cancer and infectious diseases. The team successfully tested this method in a live cell culture system.

The work was led by bioengineering professors Peter Yingxiao Wang and Shu Chien with collaborating professors Victor Nizet and Xiangdong Xu, all at the University of California San Diego, along with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The team published their work this month in Nature Communications.

The smart proteins, called “iSNAPS” (integrated sensing and activating proteins), are designed to detect precise molecular signals in live cells and in response, act upon those signals to enable the cells to fight disease or perform other beneficial functions. This study is the first to demonstrate how both sensing and activating capabilities can be combined into a single molecule, Wang said.

The researchers inserted their iSNAPS into a type of white blood cells called macrophages and demonstrated that they dramatically enhanced the macrophages’ ability to engulf and destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells… Continue reading.

No. 1 From the Start

Via UC San Diego | May 26, 2016

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.

“This department was created in the same spirit as our campus, as an innovative, collaborative and experimental place,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla during an anniversary gala at the Birch Aquarium. “We are proud that UC San Diego’s Bioengineering Department has been a leader in the field since its founding, advancing our mission of education, research and service.”

Engineers 3D-print a New Lifelike Liver Tissue for Drug Screening

Via UC Davis | February 8, 2016

A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver’s sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling. The work was published the week of Feb. 8 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers said the advance could help pharmaceutical companies save time and money when developing new drugs.

“It typically takes about 12 years and $1.8 billion to produce one FDA-approved drug,” said Shaochen Chen, NanoEngineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “That’s because over 90 percent of drugs don’t pass animal tests or human clinical trials. We’ve made a tool that pharmaceutical companies could use to do pilot studies on their new drugs, and they won’t have to wait until animal or human trials to test a drug’s safety and efficacy on patients. This would let them focus on the most promising drug candidates earlier on in the process.”

Chen and Shu Chien, a professor of Medicine and Bioengineering, director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego and recipient of a National Medal of Science, are co-senior authors of the study.

Distinguished Professor Shu Chien Elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Via UC San Diego | December 15, 2015

Two researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Shu Chien, Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine, and Michael Sailor, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, were among 168 new fellows announced by the academy today.. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, is a world-renowned researcher and inventor who has conducted pioneering investigations in atherosclerosis and hypertension. His work has brought about significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Shu Chien Named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Via UC San Diego | November 23, 2015

Six University of California, San Diego professors have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. They are among 347 members selected this year by colleagues in their disciplines to be honored for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine and bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego. He was cited for “continuing outstanding contributions to vascular physiology and vascular cell and molecular biology, which have greatly increased our understanding of vascular pathologies including atherosclerosis.” His work, which focuses on the study of how blood flow and pressure affect vessels, earned him a National Medal of Science in 2011. He is one of only 11 scholars in the United States to be a member of all three national academies: Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Founding Chair of UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering Receives Prestigious Franklin Award

Via UC San Diego | November 12, 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.
“I am extremely honored and humbled by being chosen as a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal, to be in company with all the superb medalists,” Chien told the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday. “I appreciate particularly that the award is in mechanical engineering, which I learned in my faculty years from my wonderful colleagues and apply to the study of cardiovascular system in health and disease.”

Engineers Will Pioneer the Future of Medicine

Via MDT Magazine | April 5, 2015

Many of tomorrow’s solutions to today’s challenges in medicine will require feats of engineering in addition to biology, chemistry and health sciences. In fact, inventions such as valve prostheses, vascular stents and heart rhythm control systems are examples of how biology and medicine can work together with engineering to improve processes for maintaining health and quality of life.

This is one of the main messages coming out of an article published April 1 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The article, titled “Engineering as a new frontier for translational medicine”, is co-authored by four prominent bioengineers including professor Shu Chien from the University of California, San Diego.

Shu Chien, who is the founding Director of UC San Diego’s Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM), has contributed to collaborations among faculty in the engineering and medical disciplines at UC San Diego and across the nation. He received his M.D. from the National Taiwan University and his Ph.D. in Physiology from Columbia University.

Shu Chien Receives U.C. San Diego Roger Revelle Medal

Via UC San Diego | November 20, 2014

San Diego, Calif., Nov. 20, 2014 — University of California, San Diego bioengineering professor Shu Chien has received the Roger Revelle Medal from UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla with the citation: “Shu Chien is widely known as an exceptional researcher, instructor, mentor and citizen of the university and his professional community.” 
Chien received the Roger Revelle Medal, which recognizes current and former faculty for sustained, distinguished and extraordinary service to the campus, at UC San Diego’s annual Founders Dinner celebration Nov. 15.
This recognition tops a long list of previous awards given to Chien.  “We congratulate Shu and thank him for his tireless service to the Department of Bioengineering, and for his tremendous energy, vision and effective leadership.  We are proud to call him one of our own,” said Geert Schmid-Schönbein, professor and chair of the bioengineering department at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Shu Chien Named San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Chief Engineer

Via UC San Diego | February 7, 2013

At the 2011 National Medal of Science ceremony in which Shu Chien accepted his award, President Obama stressed the importance of encouraging young students to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Chien, a UC San Diego professor of bioengineering and medicine and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, echoed the sentiment: “The strength of our country depends on science and engineering,” he said. Now, Chien is serving as the chief engineer of the 2013 San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, taking place March 16-23.

New Shu Chien Lab in New Research Building to Investigate Best Environment to Grow Stem Cells

Via UC San Diego | December 7, 2011

Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien, who recently received a National Medal of Science at the White House, will have a laboratory in the new Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine building. Chien’s lab will be dedicated to further developing a technology that allows scientists to identify the best environments to grow stem cells. Creating these environments requires mixing many proteins in a wide range of combinations. The new technology allows researchers to test hundreds of them at once.

President Obama Awards Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien National Medal of Science in White House Ceremony

Via UC San Diego | October 25, 2011

What did UC San Diego Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien and President Barack Obama talk about as Chien received the National Medal of Science from the president Friday at the White House? About the importance of science education and research, of course.

The president had just given a short speech on that topic, before bestowing the medal to Chien and six other researchers, as well as to five winners of the National Medal of Technology. When it was his turn to get the medal, Chien shook Obama’s hand.

“I thanked him for his inspiring speech,” Chien said afterwards. “That’s what the country needs. The strength of our country depends on science and engineering.”

Chien received the National Medal of Science in recognition of his contributions in the field of cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering. His research has led to the development of better diagnostic tests and treatments for atherosclerosis, as well as other diseases.

“The truth is that today’s honorees have made a bigger difference in our lives than most of us will ever realize,” Obama said.

Shu Chien to Receive National Medal of Science in White House Ceremony on Oct. 21

Via UC San Diego | October 19, 2011

President Barack Obama will present University of California, San Diego bioengineering Professor Shu Chien with the National Medal of Science in a White House ceremony Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST). The ceremony will be carried live by satellite feed and webcast on the White House website at:

Chien will be honored alongside six other Medal of Science winners and five recipients of the National Medal of Technology. The awards are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers and inventors. According to a White House announcement, President Obama will also use the occasion to announce new steps to speed the process of moving university research to the marketplace.

Pleased and humbled by the honor, Chien said it is an important symbol of the nation’s investment in scientific research and innovation.

White House Awards UC San Diego Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien National Medal of Science

Via UC San Diego | September 27, 2011

President Barack Obama today named University of California, San Diego bioengineering Professor Shu Chien one of the seven eminent researchers to receive the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers. Chien is the only engineer among the seven medalists.

Shu Chien, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, is a world leader in the study of how blood flow and pressure affect blood vessels. Chien is a university professor of bioengineering and medicine at UC San Diego and Director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Bioengineers among UC San Diego Researchers Awarded CIRM Grants in Support of Innovative Technologies

Via UC San Diego | January 28, 2011

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded three grants totaling nearly $5.8 million to researchers at the University of California, San Diego – including bioengineering professors Shu Chien and Shyni Varghese — for development of innovative technologies designed to advance translational stem cell research. The grants are part of $32 million in Tools and Technology Awards II awarded to 19 projects at 10 California institutions that were announced by CIRM today.

UCSD Bioengineering Pioneer Honored for Advancing Science Across Continents

Via UC San Diego | January 5, 2010

For Shu Chien – a pioneer in the growing field of bioengineering – understanding and learning the marvels of how the human body works has been the foundation of his decades-long quest to advance science and technology worldwide.  The UC San Diego bioengineering professor’s significant scientific endeavors have paved the way for recognition of his renowned work at the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering and abroad.

In honor of his outstanding achievements in physiology and bioengineering research and education, along with international acclaim as a superb scientist and scholar, the President of the Republic of China in Taiwan recently awarded Chien the 2009 Presidential Science Prize.