Sunica Canic

Research Expertise and Interest

applied mathematics, partial differential equations, computational methods, biomedical research

Research Description

Sunčica Čanić earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s degree from Prirodoslovno-matematički Fakultet at the University of Zagreb. She received her PhD in 1992 from the Department of Applied Mathematics at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, under Professors Bradley Plohr and James Glimm. She is now a Full Professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Broadly speaking, Čanić works on applied analysis of partial differential equations, numerical analysis, and computational modeling of partial differential equations, particularly as they apply to physical and physiological phenomena. During her PhD studies, Čanić developed mathematical methods for nonlinear hyperbolic conservation laws and the theory of shock waves. Her published works and conference presentations earned her a Fields Institute Fellow position in 1992 and a postdoctoral position at the University of Houston, where she worked on multi-dimensional theory of hyperbolic conservation laws. After completing her postdoctoral position, Čanić moved to Iowa State University, where she received an Associate Professor position with tenure, and then to the University of Houston, where she became H. Roy and L. C. Cullen Distinguished Professor and the Director of the Center for Mathematical Biosciences. During her tenure in Houston, Čanić initiated several collaborations with medical professionals at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Čanić is best known for her development of the constructive mathematical theory for fluid-structure interaction problems involving incompressible flows interacting with elastic and poroelastic structures. Her work in this area was applied to the analysis of various vascular devices, including vascular stents, for which she was invited to give a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, and a Distinguished MPS Lecture at the US National Science Foundation. Čanić received several awards for this body of work, including a US Congressional Recognition for Top Women in Technology and the Esther Farfel Award – the highest honor accorded to a University of Houston faculty member.

In 2018, Čanić moved to the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. There, together with her PhD students and postdocs, she initiated the mathematical field of stochastic fluid-structure interaction involving incompressible, viscous fluids, publishing pioneering works in this area. She also initiated a collaboration with the UC San Francisco Biodesign Laboratory to work on the mathematical and computational aspects of bioartificial organ design, specifically on the bioartificial pancreas design. In 2024, Čanić was awarded the AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture Prize for her “profound contributions across a wide spectrum of mathematics.” She is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

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