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Engineering studies on articular cartilage has been going on for a more than a century. The reason for this is quite simple; degeneration of this “simple” tissue is widely regarded as a necessary precursor to the development of osteoarthritis, a prevalent disease of large mobile joints such as the hip, knee, wrist, etc afflicting a large percentage of the elderly population, worldwide. I presented one of my earliest studies on the fundamental mechanisms of fluid transport through articular cartilage exactly 40 years ago at a symposium held here at Imperial College. For me, this has been a lasting and challenging topic of study, as history has demonstrated, which required advanced theoretical mechanics and mathematics, and the development of new experimental techniques. Indeed, the pursuit of this topic has occupied my time, and that of my many colleagues, former PhD students, and many others engineers and scientists at other institutions worldwide for over the last 40 years. I have no doubt that one of the sparks that led to worldwide bioengineering interest on this topic began with that meeting held at Imperial College 40 years ago, come next September. With our new understandings, I will present a study on a simple experiment, and with some new analytical results from our triphasic theory (1991), I will extract new and revealing results, thus further elucidating of the structure-function relationship for articular cartilage.
After receiving his PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1966, Dr. Mow did a year’s postdoctoral fellowship at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU, follow by two years as a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs writing computer programs for the antisubmarine sonar network off the east coast of U.S. In 1969, he was invited back to Rensselaer to become associate professor of applied mechanics and engineering science (AMES), when he turned his attention for studies on biomechanics. In 1976-77, he was a visiting professor at the Skeletal Research Laboratory of Harvard Medical School; in 1986, he was recruited as the Anne Y. Stein Professor of Orthopaedic Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 1998, he was appointed the Stanley Dicker Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia. He is one of the most well recognized bioengineers in the world, with over 725 publications, and has delivered over 450 invited, keynote and plenary lectures. His current Google Scholar citation is 28876 and an h-Index of 96. Over his career, he has mentored exactly 75 PhD students and PhD-MD research fellows, many of whom have become well recognized in the field of bioengineering and orthopaedic research. For these contributions, he has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, Academia Sinica of Taiwan, and The World Academy of Sciences. In 2005, ASME created a named medal to honor his contributions: The Van C. Mow Medal for Bioengineering.