Sheldon Weinbaum

Distinguished Professor Biomedical/Mechanical

Main Affiliation

Biomedical Engineering


Steinman Hall







Sheldon Weinbaum


B.A.E., 1959, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; 

M.S. Applied Physics, 1960, Harvard Univ.; 

Ph.D. Engineering, 1963, Harvard Univ.

Research Interests

Fluid dynamic and transport aspects of arterial disease, bioheat transfer, cellular mechanisms for mechanotransduction, bone fluid flow, microcirculatory exchange, transport in kidney proximal tubule, basic fluid mechanics, porous media flow. Professor Weinbaum has published more than 200 full length journal papers plus numerous shorter communications and conference papers. His research has involved important collaborations with other investigators and institutions. 

His joint studies with the UC San Diego have investigated the cellular origins of the permeability of arterial endothelium to low density lipoproteins, transport models for the arterial intima and the formation of subendothelial liposomes. His studies in bioheat transfer have examined the development of a fundamental bioheat equation to describe microvascular blood-tissue heat transfer (Weinbaum-Jiji equation) and the application of bioheat models to describe heat transfer in muscle tissue, limbs, rat tail and finger. His joint studies with the UC Davis have attempted to elucidate the structural pathways through the interendothelial cleft that determine capillary permeability and osmotic forces. His joint studies with S. C. Cowin have explored the cellular transduction mechanism by which bone cells detect mechanically induced strains and communicate these strains to the bone forming cells. His studies with Weill-Cornell Medical School have led to a new hypothesis for the mechanosensory mechanism that leads to the glomerulotubular balance in the kidney. Most recently, he has proposed a new hypothesis for vulnerable plaque rupture due to cellular micro-calcifications in thin fibrous caps which were detected for the first time and a jet train which flies on a soft porous track within centimeters of the ground at speeds approaching 700km/hr. 

He has also examined a wide variety of basic fluid mechanics problems that have arisen in biologically motivated applications. 35 of these papers have been published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.


 Mirbod, P., Andreopoulos, Y., Weinbaum, S., “An Airborne Jet Train that Flies on a Soft Porous Track” PNAS in press (2008). 

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, No. 31, 11418-11423, (2008).

Zhang, X., Adamson, R.H., Curry, F.E., Weinbaum, S., “Transient Regulation of Transport by Pericytes in venular Microvessles via Trapped Microdomains,” PNAS 105, No. 4, 1374-1379, (2008).

Wang, Y., McNamara, L. M., Schaffler, M. B., Weinbaum, S., “A Model for the Role of Integrins in Flow Induced Mechanotransduction in Osteocytes,” PNAS, 104, No. 40, 15941-15946, (2007).

Weinbaum, S., Tarbell, M. J., Damiano, E. R., “The Structure and Function of the Endothelial Glycocalyx Layer,” Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng., 9, 121-167, (2007).

Weinstein, A.M., Weinbaum, S., Duan., Y., Du, Z., Yan, Q.S., Wang, T., “Flow-Dependent Transport in a Mathematical Model of Rat Proximal Tubule,” Am. J. Physiol, Renal Physiol (2007).

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 No. 40, 14678-14683, (2006).

Zhang, X., Adamson, R.H., Curry, F-R., Weinbaum, S., “A 1-D Model to Explore the Effects of Tissue Loading and Tissue Concentration Gradients in the Revised Starling Principle,” Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 291, H2950-2964, (2006).

Zhang, X., Curry, F-R., Weinbaum, S., “Mechanism of Osmotic Flow in a Periodic Fiber Array,” Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 290, H844-H852 (2006).

Wu, Q., Igci, Y., Andreopoulos, Y., Weinbaum, S., “Lift Mechanics of Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1132-1144 (2006).

Du, Z., Yan, Q., Duan, Y., Weinbaum, S., Weinstein A.M., Wang, T., “Axial Flow Modulates Proximal Tubule NHE3 and H-ATPase Activities by Changing Microvillus Bending Moments,” Am. J. Physiol., Renal Physiol., 290, F289-F296 (2006).

Han, Y., Weinbaum, S., Spaan, J.A.E., Vink, H., “Large Deformation Analysis of the Elastic Recoil of Fiber Layers in a Brinkman Medium with Application to the Endothelial Glycocalyx,” J. Fluid Mech. (Special 50th Anniversary Issue) 554, 217-235 (2006).

Han, Y., Cowin, S., Schaffler, M., and Weinbaum, S., "Mechanotransduction and Strain Amplification in Osteocyte Cell Processes", Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA, 101, 16689-16994,(2004)

Thi, MM, Tarbell, J., Weinbaum, S., and Spray D., "The Role of the Glycoalyx in Reorganizationof the Actin Cytoskeleton under Fluid Shear Stress: A 'Bumper Car' Model", Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA, 101, 16483-16488, (2004)

Du, Z, Duan, Y., Yan, Q-S, Weinstein, A. M., Weinbaum, S., Wang, T., "Mechansensory Function of Microville of the Kidney Proximal Tubule", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 101,13068-13073, (2004)

Wu, Q., Andreopoulos, Y. and Weinbaum, S., "From Red Cells to Snowboarding to a New Concept for Train Track", Physical Review Lett., 93, 194501 (2004) 

Adamson, R. H., Lenz, J. F., Zhang, X., Adamson, G. N., Weinbaum, S. and Curry, F.E.,"Oncotic Pressures Opposing Filtration Across Non-fenestrated Rat Microvessels", J. Physiology, 557.3 889-907, (2004) 

You, L., Weinbaum, S., Cowin, S.C., and Schaffler, M.B., "Ultrastructure of the Osteocyte Process", Anatomical Rec. 278A, 505-513, (2004)

Weinbaum, S., Zhang, X., Han, Y., Vink, S., Cowin, S.C., "Mechanotransduction and FlowAcross the Endothelial Glycocalyx", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 7988-7995, (2003)

Additional Information

Awards & Honors

Elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 


Gordon McKay Prize Fellow, Harvard University (1959-1961)

NSF Fellow, Harvard University (1961-1963)

Senior Fellow Scientific Research Council of Great Britain (1974) NSF "Special Creativity" Award (1985)

Public Service Award City of New York (1988)

Research Award of the European Society of Biomechanics (1994)

H.R.Lissner Award and Melville Medal of the ASME (1994)

Best Paper Award Bioengineering Division ASME (1995)

Melville Medal of the ASME (1996)

Whitaker Distinguished Lecture BMES (1997)

Richard Skalak memorial lecture UCSD (1999)

Classic Paper Award Heat Transfer Division ASME (2000)

Suhren Lecture Tulane University (2002)

Guggenheim Fellow in Molecular and Cellular Biology (2002)

Huck Lecture Pennsylvania State University (2004)

Inaugural Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005)

Woodruff Lecture Georgia Institute of Technology (2007)

Sackler Lecturer Tel Aviv University (2007)

Ascher H. Shapiro Lecture M.I.T. (2007)

70th Anniversary Lecture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2007)

Davies Medal RPI (highest honor for engineering achievement) (2008) BecKman

Distinguished Lecture, University of Illinois (2008)