Peking University has recognized Larry McIntire with its 2021 Wu Wang-Yi Distinguished Achievement Lecture on Biomechanics, honoring his work in the field and his impact on the university.
McIntire is Wallace H. Coulter Chair Emeritus of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University and just the third recipient of the award named for Wu. He delivered the lecture virtually in late November.
“Professor Wu Wang-Yi was one of the founders of the biomechanics discipline in China, particularly in Beijing and Peking University, beginning in the early 1980s. Many of his former students have gone on to become current senior biomedical engineering academic leaders around the world, including in the United States,” McIntire said. “Giving a lecture named for Professor Wu was a great honor for me.”
One of those former students of Wu’s is Cheng Zhu, now a Regents Professor and leader of a joint Ph.D. degree program between the Coulter Department and Peking University (PKU). He introduced McIntire at the event.
“We select the awardee of the Wang-Yi Wu Award, of course, based on their scientific contribution,” Zhu said, “but also based on the awardee’s contribution in both fostering and educating students from PKU and making significant contribution to the development of biomedical engineering and biomechanics at PKU.”
Zhu traveled with McIntire to Beijing in the mid-2000s to explore the possibility of creating a joint degree program stretching from Atlanta to China’s capital. He credited McIntire with seeing the potential of the program and securing the philanthropic support to make it a reality.
“Larry had a very beautiful speech that described what a unique opportunity there is for Georgia Tech and Emory to establish a joint venture with PKU at the time when the PKU College of Engineering was just starting and the department of biomedical engineering was just starting,” Zhu said.
The pair visited again in 2013 to celebrate the program’s first graduates.
“Our joint BME Ph.D. program with Georgia Tech, Emory, and Peking University, in some ways, was built on the foundation at Peking University in biomechanics built by Professor Wu,” McIntire said, noting his influence continues through Zhu, his former student.
In his Wu Distinguished Lecture, McIntire focused on the interaction of biomechanics and cell biology in the human cardiovascular system. He explored the implications of those interactions for understanding the molecular mechanisms of atherosclerosis, arterial thrombosis, and infectious disease in a presentation viewed live by more than 31,000 people.