University of Pittsburgh
November 12, 2006

Pitt Engineers Receive National Honors

Sacks, one of 2006 'Scientific American 50,' named editor of prestigious biomechanical journal; Clark, Givi elected ASME fellows
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Several researchers in the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering recently have received national attention for their work.

* Michael Sacks, William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the school's Department of Bioengineering, has been named technical editor of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. Sacks' five-year term as editor will begin July 1, 2007.

"As editor of the highest-ranked journal in the field of biomechanics, Professor Sacks follows some of the most famous biomechanics pioneers of the 20th century," said Harvey Borovetz, who is a professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering as well as the Robert L. Hardesty Professor in the Department of Surgery and professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt. "The Department of Bioengineering offers our heartiest congratulations to Professor Sacks for this outstanding accomplishment in recognition of his international leadership in biomechanics research and education."

In their letter informing Sacks of the decision, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Executive Committee of the Bioengineering Division wrote that they were "impressed with [Sacks'] vision statement."

Sacks' research focuses on quantifying and modeling the structure-mechanical properties of native and engineered soft tissues, particularly tissues of the cardiovascular and urological systems. Sacks directs the Engineered Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, and his team has concentrated on the mechanical behavior and function of heart valves and scaffold design, including the development of stress-strain models for these native and engineered tissues using a structural approach.

* Additionally, in the December issue of Scientific American magazine, Sacks and colleague William Wagner, who is associate professor of surgery, chemical engineering, and bioengineering at Pitt and deputy director of the University's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, were named one of the 2006 "Scientific American 50" for their research contributions to the development and biomechanical analyses of novel cell microintegrated biodegradable scaffolds that mimic many of the critical properties of cardiovascular tissues.

Wagner's research is in the area of cardiovascular engineering with projects that address medical device biocompatibility and design, tissue engineering, and imaging. While at Pitt, he has researched and participated in the development of ventricular- assist systems, membrane oxygenators and tissue-engineered lungs.

* William "Buddy" Clark and Peyman Givi, professors of mechanical engineering at Pitt, both were elected fellows of the ASME for their significant engineering achievements and contributions to the mechanical engineering profession.

"Professors Clark and Givi are both excellent faculty in the department and should be congratulated for their achievements," said Minking Chyu, Leighton Orr Professor and chair of Pitt's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and himself a fellow of the ASME.

"Dr. Clark is widely regarded for his remarkable contributions in control of smart structures and Microsystems, and Dr. Givi is a world-renowned expert in computational combustion and turbulent reacting flows," Chyu added. "I am proud that we have two colleagues inducted as ASME fellows in the same year."

Clark's primary research interest is in the area of smart structures and microsystems. He directs the Vibration and Control Lab, in which current research focuses include vibration control with variable stiffness and damping materials, energy harvesting, smart materials in microelectromechanical systems, and the use of smart materials in cell biology studies.

Givi is the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Pitt. His research interests include turbulence, combustion, computational fluid dynamics, propulsion, and stochastic processes. Givi directs the Laboratory for Computational Transport Phenomena and is a previous recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering plays a vital role in the educational, research, and professional development of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the region. The school's strengths in education and research include the areas of bioengineering, nanoscience and engineering, sustainability, and manufacturing and product innovation. The School of Engineering provides a hands-on education, thoroughly preparing engineering graduates to step into exciting career opportunities in advanced research and industry.