TGIF: the time is ripe for our regular Friday feature — a look into the history of medical gadgetry from the internet’s foremost medical gadgeteers.
It was during the past week that one of the engineering profession’s highest honors for 2005, presented by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) — the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize — rightfully went to Dr. Leland C. Clark Jr. of the University of Cincinnati.
This is how the academy describes Dr. Clark’s contribution in its press statement:
Leland C. Clark Jr., former University Distinguished Service Professor and Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati, was one of the founders of Synthetic Blood International Inc. Considered the “father of biosensors,” he invented the first device to rapidly determine the amount of glucose in blood. Today many of the 18.2 million Americans with diabetes rely on Clark’s original glucose sensor concept for self-monitoring. In the future, an implantable biosensor — newly patented by Clark — could make blood glucose monitoring even easier by sending readings whenever needed.
The Clark oxygen electrode, which he invented in 1954, remains the standard for measuring dissolved oxygen in biomedical, environmental, and industrial applications. The electrode quickly measures blood oxygen levels, enabling doctors to perform 750,000 open-heart surgeries each year. Oxygen monitoring is now a requirement for hospital accreditation. It is also used to measure oxygen levels in rivers and oceans to protect wildlife populations.
Clark’s nontraditional, interdisciplinary approach to problem solving has led to many breakthroughs. In addition to the implantable glucose electrode, his recent work has included research on a blood substitute and a breathable liquid.
“There is no prize that I would be prouder to win,” said Clark.
More at National Academies’ National Academy of Engineering…
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