professor and student
Doctoral student Danika Hayman and Assistant Professor Hai-Chao Han

Engineering professor receives $400K NSF award

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(May 7, 2007)--Hai-Chao Han, UTSA assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded a five-year, $400,000 faculty early career development award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the cardiovascular mechanics associated with artery buckling in humans.

The career award is NSF's most prestigious honor for junior faculty members and is designed to support exceptionally promising college and university faculty members committed to the integration of research and education. Han also received a $270,000 grant from NSF last year. A small number of U.S. researchers receive either of these grants, but even fewer receive both of the NSF grants.

Han, who joined UTSA in 2003, is focusing his research on understanding the role of mechanical stress in arterial and heart remodeling and its relationship to cardiovascular diseases. Graduate students in his lab are studying the mechanisms of artery kinking in the elderly and the wall stress and remodeling of the left ventricle after heart attacks.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so we are trying to understand the adaptation of the heart and arteries to mechanical stress and coronary artery disease and develop new technologies for its treatment," said Han. "The NSF grants enable us to carry out the research and provide great training opportunities for our students in the biomedical engineering area."

Han received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Xi'an Jiatong University in China with joint training from University of California at San Diego.