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April 30, 1999

UW professor wins only Guggenheim Fellowship given in medicine this year

Dr. Robb Glenny, associate professor of medicine and of physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington, has won the only Guggenheim Fellowship Award given in medicine this year.

The prestigious fellowships are awarded for distinguished past achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Glenny will use his fellowship during a sabbatical year at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. He plans to investigate the distribution of lung blood flow in humans during increased centrifugal force. He has previously done studies on NASA’s reduced-gravity aircraft.

His research challenges the conventional understanding that gravity is the primary determining factor on blood flow distribution in the lung. He shows that blood flow distribution can be explained by fractals, a new mathematical science. Glenny has identified fractal patterns of blood distribution and proposes that this is due to the fractal structure of blood vessels in the lung. The blood vessels form a tree-like structure that repeats itself from the first to the last branches.

The Guggenheim fellows — 179 this year — include writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists and scholars in the humanities. Awards given this year total more than
$6 million. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has made fellowship awards since 1925.

Glenny is a resident of Bellevue.