In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Paul Wang (1937-2017)

March 17, 2017 | By Luke Ng

Professor Emeritus Paul Wang

The Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) community remembers Professor Emeritus Paul Yao-Cheung Wang, who passed away on March 7, 2017.

Wang, who died at the age of 79, was born in Shanghai, China and received his PhD from McGill University in 1965.

He joined the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in 1968 under the leadership of director Norman Moody. Wang received tenure in 1974 and held cross-appointments in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and the Department Pharmacology & Toxicology, and was a member of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre.

In 2003, Wang retired to the status of professor emeritus after a 35-year career at U of T. The Sally and Paul Wang Graduate Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering was subsequently established in honour of the professor and his spouse.

Over his three-decade tenure, Wang established an international reputation as a distinguished researcher and educator in the area of surgical adhesives, as well as implantable devices and new biomaterials for continuous, therapeutic drug administration. In 1981, he invented ‘dextran hydrogel dressing’—a low-cost treatment that provided sustained release of medication for burn treatment, skin ulcerations and abrasions.

His research success also led to the launch of LinShin Canada Inc. in 1992, a company he started to commercialize his development of novel implants that allowed for the sustained release of insulin to treat animal diabetes.

“Paul introduced ‘chemistry’ into what had been the Institute of Biomedical Electronics, and ushered in the era of biomedical engineering at U of T,” said University Professor Michael Sefton. “I am also indebted to him—he helped inspire my career in research when I completed my undergraduate thesis under his supervision in 1971.”

“Professor Wang made important contributions to the field of biomedical engineering that helped steer many researchers on a course for future success,” said Professor Christopher Yip, director of IBBME. “His pioneering efforts in sustained drug delivery helped to nucleate many of current initiatives in regenerative medicine and biomaterials.”