UC Davis Biomedical Engineering


Athanasiou Receives Lissner Medal

Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, has received the 2013/14 H.R. Lissner Medal from the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He will be presented with the medal and monetary award during the seventh World Congress of Biomechanics, taking place July 6-11, 2014, in Boston, MA.

The award, established in 1977, is considered the ASME Bioengineering Division’s highest honor. It recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of bioengineering, which may take the form of significant research contributions; the development of new methods of bioengineering measurement; the design of new equipment and instrumentation; a noteworthy educational impact in the training of new bioengineers; and/or service to the bioengineering community in general, and to ASME’s Bioengineering Division in particular.

Born in Larnaca, Cyprus, Dr. Athanasiou came to the United States to attend college. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from New York Institute of Technology at Old Westbury, followed by a Master’s of Science, a Master’s of Philosophy, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Columbia University. After serving as a professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and of the Biomedical Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Athanasiou joined the Bioengineering Department at Rice University, where he served as the Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering until 2009. Since then, he has been Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at UC Davis and holds a joint appointment as a Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Dr. Athanasiou currently seeks to discover clinically acceptable solutions to treat cartilage injury and diseases. His laboratory strives to ensure that engineered and processed tissues have biomechanical function akin to the native tissue. His group has successfully fabricated sections of articular cartilage by the self-assembly of cells, without the use of any scaffolds. Recently, his group has shown that the biomimetic cartilage it produces is biocompatible, stable, and continues to mature once it has been implanted.

In November, 2012, he received the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive, and one of the most prestigious awards in the European Union. For this reason, it is often called the “Nobel Prize” of Cyprus. Dr. Athanasiou holds 30 patents and has published close to 300 papers in prestigious journals and 300 conference proceedings or abstracts; he has also authored five books. He has received many awards and honors, including the Distinguished Service Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, The Thomas A. Edison Patent Award, the Wall Street Journal’s 2008 Innovation Award, The Hershel M. Rich Outstanding Invention Award (twice), The Van C. Mow Medal, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, the flagship journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, founded in 1880, serves diverse global communities by advancing, disseminating and applying engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life, and communicating the excitement of engineering. ASME enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.