Sheldon Weinbaum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sheldon Weinbaum
Sheldon Weinbaum.jpg
Born (1937-07-26) July 26, 1937 (age 80)
Residence United States
Alma mater Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Harvard University
Awards National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guggenheim Fellowship
Scientific career
Fields Biomedical Engineering
Institutions The City College of New York
Doctoral advisor George F. Carrier
Doctoral students

45 PhD students

17 female and/or minority

Sheldon Weinbaum: (born July 26, 1937, Brooklyn, New York, United States) is an American biomedical engineer and biofluid mechanician. He is a CUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering at The City College of New York.[1] He is one of nineteen living individuals (edited 9/21/15) who is a member of all three U.S. national academies (National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine) and also the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2][3] He was the founding director (1994–1999) of the New York Center for Biomedical Engineering, a regional research consortium involving the BME program at The City College and eight of the premier health care institutions in New York City. He has been a lifelong advocate for women and minorities in science and engineering. He was the lead plaintiff and organizer of a class-action lawsuit (Weinbaum vs. Cuomo) charging New York State officials with racially discriminatory funding of its two university systems, CUNY and SUNY,[4][5] the first CUNY faculty recipient of the Public Service Award of the Fund for the City of New York,[6] and the Inaugural Recipient of the “Diversity Award” of the Biomedical Engineering Society (2009).[7] He is currently chair of the Selection Committee that chooses the annual Sloan Awardees for the outstanding math and science teachers in the New York City public high schools.

Background and personal life[edit]

Weinbaum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His parents are Alex Weinbaum, who emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 1921, and Frances (Stark) Weinbaum. He attended Jamaica High School, Queens, and Abraham Lincoln High School, Brooklyn, and received his bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Aeronautical Engineering in 1959. He earned his MS in Applied Physics 1960 and his PhD in Engineering 1963 from Harvard University where he was a Gordon McKay Prize and then National Science Foundation Fellow. His dissertation is entitled “Natural convection phenomena in horizontal circular cylinders” and completed under the direction of George F. Carrier. He subsequently worked for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory and the General Electric Space Sciences Laboratory in Valley Forge, where he did research in high altitude aerodynamics. He developed what is now referred to as the Weinbaum-Weiss model of the high altitude laminar near wake. He became active in the anti-war movement of the 1960s and returned to academia in 1967 as an associate professor in the Department Mechanical Engineering at The City College of New York. He was promoted to professor in 1972, became a Herbert G Kayser Chair Professor in 1980 and a CUNY distinguished professor in 1986. Weinbaum married Alexandra Tamara Wolkowicz in 1962 and they have two children, Alys Eve Weinbaum and Daniel Eden Weinbaum.

Contributions to science and engineering[edit]

Weinbaum is widely recognized for novel biomechanical models that have changed existing views in such areas as bone fluid flow and mechanotransduction (how bone cells sense mechanical forces),[8][9] vulnerable plaque rupture (principal cause of cardiovascular death),[10][11] the role of the endothelial glycocalyx in initiating intracellular signaling,[12] microvascular fluid exchange,[13] endothelial transport aspects of arterial disease,[14] glomerular-tubular balance in the renal tubule,[15] and bioheat transfer (Weinbaum-Jiji equation for microvascular heat exchange between blood and tissue).[16] In each case he resolved a long-standing “mystery” by discovering either a new structure-such as micro-calcifications in the fibrous caps of vulnerable lesions or leaky junctions for transport of LDL across vascular endothelium- or a new function for a known structure –such as by demonstrating that the glycocalyx on endothelial cells senses the fluid shear stress of the blood flow and transmits it to the intracellular cytoskeleton. He has also proposed a new concept for a high speed train where lift is generated by a giant ski riding on a soft porous material in a channel with impermeable side walls.[17]

Weinbaum has been instrumental in the development of the biomedical engineering program at The City College of New York and CUNY. In 1994 he and Stephen C. Cowin established the New York Center for Biomedical Engineering and in 1999 they introduced the new CUNY PhD program in Biomedical Engineering. This led to the creation of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2002 and an undergraduate degree program in this field.

Contributions to diversity[edit]

Weinbaum is widely recognized as a pioneering advocate for women and minorities in science and engineering. As an untenured professor he was almost fired in 1969 for his role in supporting Black and Hispanic students in their takeover of the City College campus in their protest against existing admission policies.[18] In 1977 he established the first summer outreach program at The City College for low income public high school students in science and engineering. In 1988 he received the Public Service Award of the Fund for the City of New York from Mayor Edward Koch for his role in recruiting women and minority faculty and students to the Grove School of Engineering.[6]

His 1992 class-action lawsuit Weinbaum vs. Cuomo (lead article Metro Section of the New York Times[5]) brought national attention to the alleged racially discriminatory funding of higher education in New York State. The initial positive ruling[4] was overturned on the New York State Court of Appeals in 1996 on the grounds that the state did not have to fund its two university systems CUNY and SUNY equally provided neither university had racially biased admissions. Weinbaum then turned his attention to encouraging high achieving underrepresented minority (URM) students to go to graduate school and pursue a PhD in a series of grants from the Sloan Foundation and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH 1997–2013. The success of the latter program is described by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Kenneth Cooper in “Diverse Issues in Higher Education”.[19]

Under the combined leadership of Weinbaum and John M. Tarbell, Chair of BME from 2004 to 2013, the BME Department has become widely recognized for the diversity of its faculty and graduate students. In the 2011 report of the National Research Council on doctoral programs in the United States the CUNY bioengineering PhD program ranked first nationally in diversity among the 74 ranked programs in the field. As of 3/9/18, 54% of its tenure track faculty and 74% of its PhD students are female and/or URM (24%) making it a leader among all STEM programs nationally. Of the 45 PhD students Weinbaum has mentored or co-mentored 17 are female and/or URM. Weinbaum has also played a leadership role in the nomination of women and minority researchers in both the NAE and NAS. He is currently Chair of the Temporary Nominating Group (TNG) for Class III of the NAS, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Chair of the Temporary Nominating Committee (TNC) of NAE to identify such individuals.

Selected awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1959–61 Gordon McKay Prize Fellow, Harvard University
  • 1961–1963 National Science Foundation Fellow, Harvard University,
  • 1974 Senior fellow Scientific Research Council Great Britain
  • 1988 Public Service Award Fund for the City of New York
  • 1994 The Research Award of the European Society of Biomechanics
  • 1996 Elected National Academy of Engineering
  • 1996 Melville Medal (best original paper) American Society Mechanical Engineers
  • 1997 Whitaker Distinguished Lecturer Biomedical Engineering Society
  • 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • 2002 Elected National Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 Elected Institute of Medicine
  • 2007 Woodruff Lecturer, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 2007 Sackler Lecturer, Tel Aviv University
  • 2007 Tenth Anniversary Ascher Shapiro Lecture, M.I.T.
  • 2007 70th Anniversary Lecture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • 2008 Davies Medal RPI (highest honor for engineering alumnus)
  • 2008 Beckman Distinguished Lecture, University of Illinois
  • 2009 Inaugural Diversity Award Biomedical Engineering Society
  • 2012 Honorary Doctorate of Science, The City College of New York, CUNY board of trustees
  • 2013 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


  1. ^ "Faculty - Sheldon Weinbaum - Department of Biomedical Engineering - CCNY - CUNY". Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  2. ^ Bulletin Board: Triple Crown of Academies New York Times 10/23/2002
  3. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences : 2013 Fellows and their Affiliations" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  4. ^ a b “Claim over CUNY Funds Stands, Motion to Dismiss Denied in Lawsuit Based on Racial Bias Theory” Lead article front page New York Law Journal 10/18/1993 by Cerisse Anderson
  5. ^ a b “250 at CUNY Sue New York Citing Racial Bias in Budget” Lead article Metro Section of the New York Times 2/27/1992 by Sam H. Verhovek
  6. ^ a b ”No Flash, Just Success Honors for 6 Who Help People” New York Times 12//13/1988 by Felicia Lee
  7. ^ Weinbaum, S.. “Fulfilling the Dream: The Importance of Doing What You Believe and Being Taken Seriously”, Inaugural Diversity Award BMES, Annals. Biomed. Eng. 38, 1132–1140 (2010).
  8. ^ Weinbaum, S., Cowin, S.C. and Zeng, Yu. "Excitation of Osteocytes by Mechanical Loading-Induced Bone Fluid Shear Stresses," J. Biomech., 27, 339-360 (1994).
  9. ^ Han, Y., Cowin, S., Schaffler, M., Weinbaum, S., “Mechanotransduction and Strain Amplification in Osteocyte Cell Processes,” PNAS, 101(47): 16689-16994, (2004).
  10. ^ Vengrenyuk, Y., Carlier, S., Xanthos, S., Cardoso, L., Ganatos, P., Vermani, R., Einav, S., Gilchrist, L., Weinbaum, S., “A Hypothesis for Vulnerable Plaque Rupture due to Stress-Induced Debonding Around Cellular Microcalcifications in Thin Fibrous Caps,” PNAS, 103(40): 14678-14683, (2006).
  11. ^ Kelly-Arnold, A., Maldonado, N., Laudier, D., Aikawa, E., Cardoso, L. and Weinbaum, S., “A revised microcalcification hypothesis for fibrous cap rupture in human coronary arteries,” PNAS 110(26): 10741-10746, (2013).
  12. ^ Weinbaum, S., Zhang, X., Han, Y., Vink, S., Cowin, S.C., “Mechanotransduction and Flow Across the Endothelial Glycocalyx,” PNAS 100(13): 7988–7995 (2003).
  13. ^ Hu, X., Weinbaum, S., “A New View of Starling’s Hypothesis at the Microstructural Level,” Microvascular Research, 58, 281-304 (1999).
  14. ^ Weinbaum, S., G. E. Tzeghai, P. Ganatos, and R. Pfeffer, "Effect of Cell Turnover and Leaky Junctions on the Transport of Macromolecules Across the Arterial Wall," Am. J. Physiol., 248, H945-H960 (1985).
  15. ^ Duan, Y., Gotoh, N., Yan, Q., Du, Z., Weinstein, A.M., Wang, T., Weinbaum, S., “Shear-induced Reorganization of Renal Proximal Tubule Cell Actin Cytoskeleton and Apical Junctional Complexes,” PNAS 105(31): 11418-11423, (2008).
  16. ^ Weinbaum, S., and L. M. Jiji, "A New Simplified Bioheat Equation for the Effect of Blood Flow on Local Average Tissue Temperature," ASME J. Biomech. Engr., 107, 131-139 (1985).
  17. ^ Wu, Q., Andreopoulos, Y. and Weinbaum, S., “From Red Cells to Snowboarding to a New Concept for a Train Track,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 93, 194501-1-4 (2004).
  18. ^ "From Political Firebrand to Faculty Icon: Sheldon Weinbaum at CCNY". 2013-11-06. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  19. ^ "CCNY Minority Scholars Program shows success in nurturing Ph.D. aspirations of underrepresented students", Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 8/16/12 by Kenneth Cooper.

External links[edit]