Republic of China (Taiwan) Vice President and Academia Sinica Academician Chen Chien-jen and his AS colleague Cyrus C.Y. Chu were recently elected as foreign associates of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished achievements in their respective areas of research, according to Taipei City-based AS May 3.
A renowned epidemiologist, Chen received his bachelor's degree in zoology in 1973 from National Taiwan University, master's degree in public health four years later also from NTU, and doctorate in epidemiology and human genetics in 1982 from Johns Hopkins University.
As a faculty member at his alma mater, Chen helped found a dedicated laboratory on molecular epidemiology at NTU and became a pioneer in the research of preventative medicine in Taiwan. During the SARS outbreak of 2003, Chen, as the country's health minister, led government efforts in successfully controlling the crisis in a short period of time.
During his career as a researcher, Chen has received numerous awards and recognition from home and abroad, including the Knowledge for the World Award presented by Johns Hopkins University. The vice president was elected to the AS in 1998 and became a member of Italy-based The World Academy of Sciences in 2005.
Also an NTU graduate, Chu earned his doctorate in economics from Michigan University in 1985. An expert in such areas as finance and population economics, Chu focused his work on economic issues unique to Taiwan and their significance in the context of international research. He was elected an AS academician in 1998 and became a TWAS member in 2010.
In addition to being an outstanding economist, Chu has held several prominent government positions, including a two-year term as minister of science and technology. He currently serves as the country's permanent representative to the World Trade Organization.
Four other AS academicians have received the same NAS honor. Former AS President Yuan T. Lee, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986, became the first NAS foreign associate from Taiwan in 1979, while superconductivity physicist Wu Maw-kuen and microbial biologist Chen Ding-shinn won the same honor in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Current AS President James C. Liao was elected an NAS member in 2015.
Established in 1863, Washington D.C.-headquartered NAS is one of the most prestigious research bodies in the U.S. and serves as a key government policy adviser in education, health, science and social welfare, with its 2,290 members and 475 foreign associates including nearly 200 Nobel Prize laureates.
Source: Taiwan Today