The Journal of Biomechanical Engineering has been in continuous production since 1977. To honor papers published at least 30 years ago that have had a long-lasting impact on the field, we present a paper starting from the early years of the journal that has had lasting impact, as assessed by metrics, such as the total number of citations accumulated since publication. Looking at the papers from the journal's first five years, we are pleased to present the following pair of papers as this year's Legacy Papers:

Vascular Endothelial Morphology as an Indicator of the Pattern of Blood Flow” by R. M. Nerem, M. J. Levesque, and J. F. Cornhill, ASME J Biomech Eng 103(3): 172–176, 1981.

The Dynamic Response of Vascular Endothelial Cells to Fluid Shear Stress” by C. F. Dewey, Jr., S. R. Bussolari, M. A. Gimbrone, Jr., and P. F. Davies, J Biomech Eng 103(3): 177–185, 1981.

These two papers, published consecutively in JBME, ushered in a new research area: the response of endothelial cells to fluid shear stress. Each of these papers has over 300 citations, and their impact was significant and has continued to this day.

The first paper (Nerem et al.) showed that the morphology of endothelial cells in the rabbit aorta aligned with the flow direction, but those from the ostia were aligned at an angle to the vessel axis, leading the authors to conjecture that “The results obtained to date suggest that endothelial cell morphology and orientation around a branch vessel may be a natural marker or indicator of the detailed features of blood flow.” The second paper (Dewey et al.) showed similar results from in vitro experiments, which was important because of the greater degree of experimental control and reproducibility available only in the lab setting. Again, the critical conclusion was reached: “These observations suggest that fluid mechanical forces can directly influence endothelial cell structure and function.” The similarity in the concurrent findings of in vitro and in vivo studies both validated and reinforced what at the time was a novel hypothesis in the emerging field of cytomechanics—a concept that has become part of the fabric of modern biomechanics.