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International engineering society ASME establishes new award and medal in honor of Pitt’s Savio L-Y.Woo

NEW YORK/PITTSBURGH (September 30, 2015) … A University of Pittsburgh professor who himself has received numerous national and international accolades - among them an Olympic gold medal - will now have an award medal struck in his honor.

ASME Established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) on the recommendation of its Bioengineering Division, the award celebrates the career and achievements of bioengineering trailblazer Savio L-Y. Woo, Ph.D., a Distinguished University Professor of Bioengineering in the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering and the founder and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC) at Pitt. The ASME Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal will be a Society-level award to recognize ASME members who have translated meritorious bioengineering science to clinical practice through research, education, professional development, and service to the bioengineering community.

Dr. Woo, an ASME Life Fellow and former chair of the Bioengineering Division, is a pioneer in translational biomechanics who has conducted research in the healing and repair of tissues for more than 40 years. Dr. Woo joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1990 after spending 20 years as professor of surgery and bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. He and his research teams have authored more than 320 original research papers in refereed journals, as well as 146 book chapters and review articles, and their work has had a significant impact on the management of ligament and tendon injuries.

"The medal is really a recognition of the success of many: my prized pupils that I have taught (and they have taught me!); my junior colleagues that I have mentored; my good and kind friends and co-workers that I am fortunate to know and to learn from; and most importantly, my supportive and loving family: Pattie, Kirstin, Jonathan, Adam, Zadie and Arden," Dr. Woo said.

Prior to the creation of the Woo Medal, ASME had three awards honoring contributions to the field of bioengineering: the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award, the Van C. Mow Medal for mid-career researchers, and the H.R. Lissner Medal for career achievement. Unlike those awards, which focus on research contributions to bioengineering and engineering, the new award is intended to recognize the significant contributions of bioengineers whose work has resulted in the development of a medical device or equipment, contributed to new approaches of disease treatment, or established new injury treatment modalities.

"Savio is a world-renowned and respected researcher, academic, mentor and colleague, and is tremendously deserving of this honor," noted Gerald D. Holder, PhD, the Swanson School's U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. "His research in translational biomechanics and orthopaedics has significantly advanced the entire field, and we are indeed proud to have him as a member of our faculty."

"Dr. Woo has been a leader in improving orthopedic surgery and patient outcomes through scientific research and engineering design," said Sara E. Wilson, Ph.D. , director of the Bioengineering Graduate Program and associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kansas and chair of the ASME Bioengineering Division. "This award recognizes the unique contributions of those that bridge the gap between research and clinical practice."

"It was very special for me to take part in establishing this legacy in honor of Dr. Savio L-Y. Woo," added Jennifer S. Wayne, Ph.D. , the former chair of the Bioengineering Division who spearheaded the effort to establish the award. "It forever acknowledges what he has accomplished for the bioengineering field and the ASME Bioengineering Division." The award received the full support of the Bioengineering Division's leadership, with David A. Vorp, PhD, associate dean for research and the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering at Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering; and Matthew J. Gounis, PhD, associate professor of radiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, both recent chairs of the Bioengineering Division, having crucial parts in the approval process.

Candidates for the new award must be active members of the Bioengineering Division. The award consists of $1,000, a bronze medal, a certificate, and a travel expense supplement to attend the award presentation. Nominations for the first Woo Medal are being accepted through Oct. 1. The Bioengineering Division expects to present the first award next summer, during the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport (SB3C) Conference in National Harbor, Md.

To learn more about the Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal, or for information on how to submit a nomination, visit www.asme.org/about-asme/honors-awards/achievement-awards/savio-ly-woo-translational-biomechanics-medal .

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that 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. For more information visit www.asme.org.

About Dr. Savio L-Y. Woo
Dr. Savio L-Y. Woo is 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, Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 after spending 20 years at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering.

Dr. Woo is a pioneer in bioengineering and is renowned for his 40+ years of translational research in healing and repair of tissues. Together with his team, they have authored 320 original research papers in refereed journals as well as 146 book chapters and review articles. Their work has significantly impacted the management of ligament and tendon injuries including clinical paradigm shifts that have led to improved patient outcome.

More recently, Dr. Woo's research has focused on two areas: 1) measurement of the properties of ligaments and tendons and joint mechanics and 2) functional tissue engineering (FTE) and regeneration of ligaments and tendons. His laboratories are organized to investigate the cellular and molecular responses to mechanical stimuli to improve the outcome of ligament and tendon healing. Also, he has pioneered the use of robotic technology to study the function of ACL and to improve ACL reconstruction procedures. When combining it with biplanar fluoroscopy, he and his team will be able to better characterize mechanisms of ACL injury and find better ways for its prevention. Currently, Dr. Woo is exploring the use of biodegradable magnesium (Mg) and Mg alloys for ligament regeneration.

Dr. Woo has educated over 465 orthopaedic surgeons, post-doctoral fellows and students from all around the globe including, Japan, Germany, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, Korea, Canada, England, Norway, India, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR, and China. He has also mentored 37 junior faculty members.

Dr. Woo has been a leader in Bioengineering and Orthopaedics. He has served as Chair of ASME's Bioengineering Division, United States National Committee of Biomechanics, and the World Council for Biomechanics as well as President for The Orthopaedic Research Society, American Society of Biomechanics, and International Society for Fracture Repair. He has also founded the International Symposium on Ligaments and Tendons (ISL&T) and World Association for Chinese Biomedical Engineers (WACBE).

Dr. Woo has been inducted into the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine), the National Academy of Engineering, and the Academia Sinica, only one of four persons who have gained all three of these honors.

He has also received the highest honors from many professional societies, including the Kappa Delta Award, the Herbert R. Lissner Medal, the O'Donoghue Sports Injury Research Award, the Giovanni Borelli Award, the Muybridge Medal, and the prestigious Diamond Award for Distinguish Achievement from the University of Washington, among others. Most recently, he was given the IEEE Gold Medal for Innovation in Healthcare Technology from the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. In 1998, Dr. Woo received the Olympic Prize for Sports Science from the International Olympic Committee and the first Olympic gold medal at the Nagano Games in Japan.


Author: Paul Kovach

Contact: Paul Kovach