Niilo Saranummi was a distinguished engineer and remarkable scientist who left a deep impact in the field of biomedical engineering and health informatics worldwide: in his home country, Finland, in Europe as one of the founders of the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Sciences (EAMBES), globally as the President of International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) and later also the President of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM), as well as a leader, editor and active member within the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS) and HL7.
Niilo was a member of several scientific and professional academies, IAMBE, AIMBE, IEEE, EAMBES, HL7 and FACTE. For his contributions to biomedical engineering research and his achievements, Niilo was awarded the Otto Schmitt Award. His research interests include personal health systems and eHealth, and innovation, technology transfer and technology policy setting in health technologies. He was committed to the introduction of a complete digital healthcare firstly in his homeland and then to use the experience as an example for others. In the months to follow, members of the biomedical engineering community will commemorate Niilo and refresh memories of common moments, endeavors, achievements, pleasant experiences.
Besides of being a great scientist, educator and organizer, a worker and visionary with humility, Niilo was a supporter, adviser and friend to generations of biomedical engineers. The biomedical engineering community will keep Niilo in eternal memory.
Professor Herbert Frederick Voigt III, Past President of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM), and Past President of the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) – of Milton, MA, passed away suddenly on 25 January 2018. He is survived by his loving wife Ronit, and children Justin and his wife Jennifer, granddaughters Madeline and Charlotte of Milton, MA, and daughter Emily of Milton, MA. He leaves behind his mother Simona and eight siblings.
Professor Voigt was elected in 2006 to be the President of IFMBE during the term 2009 to 2012, and subsequently to be the President of IUPESM from 2012 to 2015. As President of IUPESM, which is the parent organization of IFMBE and International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), he played an important role in promoting the collaboration and development amongst these constituent organizations. Professor Voigt was a visionary leader, a great team builder and a highly respected colleague. During his presidency of IFMBE and IUPESM, Professor Voigt made significant and valuable contributions to the global community of Biomedical Engineers and Medical Physicists.
Professor Voigt was indeed a bright biomedical engineer. He earned his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering in 1980 from the top ranked Johns Hopkins University and spent his professional career devoted to education and research at another top ranked Boston University. He was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and an Associate Research Professor of Otolaryngology at Boston University. Professor Voigt was an illustrious researcher and innovator. Professor Voigt’s research interests included auditory neurophysiology, specifically cochlear nucleus neural circuitry, heavy metal detection and global health. He was a dedicated professor and mentor to students providing consistent guidance and mentorship.
Professor Voigt served as the President of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in 1999 and the President of Alpha Eta Mu Beta from 2002 to 2008. He also served as the President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) from 2006 to 2007. He received the BMES’s President’s Award in 2002 and its Distinguished Service Award in 2004, and was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2003. Professor Voigt was an AIMBE Founding Fellow in 1998 and a BMES Fellow in 2004. He was selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) as a Distinguished Lecturer from 2012-2013 and was also an honorary member of the Swedish Society of Medical Engineering & Physics in 2012. He received the honor of serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Peru in 2015.
Professor Voigt was a tireless worker. He spent enormous time with IFMBE colleagues at numerous events across the globe, with active involvement. He listened to different points of view on various matters and played a key role in reaching consensus among international colleagues. He was energetic and he showed interest in the BME activities of the constituent societies of IFMBE. He was very good-natured and he worked very well with diverse BME representatives from different countries.
Over the years, Professor Voigt’s illustrious efforts positively impacted a huge number of Biomedical Engineers and medical physicists worldwide. To cite just a few, he played key roles in IUPESM World Congresses in Munich in 2009, in Beijing in 2012 and in Toronto in 2015, which are major tri-annual events of Biomedical Engineers and Medical Physicists worldwide, in dozens of IFMBE conferences in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asian Pacific regions, and in the Global Medical Devices Forum 1, 2 and 3 of the World Health Organization (WHO). He was active in the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), where he initiated several cluster activities of interest to multiple international professional organizations. Professor Voigt took center stage in most events making important statements on the current and emerging trends and challenges, thus encouraging educators, students and researchers across the world.
Professor Voigt was warm, friendly and courteous. Undoubtedly, he was a devoted husband and affectionate father. He cared a lot for his family, talked about them and brought them to several international events. He appreciated their support. He was always kind and generous. He treated everybody fairly and with respect.
Professor Voigt was a dear friend to all of us. Our loss is irrecoverable. Our friendship as well as the delightful times that we, the IFMBE, IOMP and IUPESM volunteers, spent collectively with Professor Voigt to be involved in fantastic things to benefit the global biomedical engineering and medical physics community, will always be cherished. We will sorely miss our friend, Professor Voigt.
With Affection and Fond Memories,
International Friends from IFMBE, IOMP and IUPESM
KinYin Cheung (President of IUPESM): I am very sorry to share this shocking sad news of the passing away of Herb. Herb has been a wonderful leader who has made outstanding contributions to IUPESM. His death is a tremendous loss to every one of us. I shall send formal condolences to his family on behalf of IUPESM. We should include an obituary in IUPESM official journal and website.
James Goh (President of IFMBE): I know how shocked you were when you heard the news of Herb’s passing. It was the same with me, I just could not believe it. I messaged Herb’s daughter,Emily immediately and she confirmed my worse fear. Herb had been such a great advocate of our profession and had given much to promoting BME nationally as well as globally. It was such a delight for me to have worked closely with him during his IFMBE Presidency. He was a wonderful leader and friend. He will be sadly and greatly missed. He’s gone too soon!
Slavik Tabakov (President of IOMP): I am shocked of this sad news. Herb was full of energy. I am sure his legacy will be with us for many many years, and we all will keep excellent memories for him. Most sincerely.
SM Krishnan: I was terribly shocked and deeply saddened when I heard the news about Herb. It was unbelievable. He was such a great friend, educator, leader and contributor to the global community of Biomedical Engineers. He will be truly missed. I share the sentiments expressed in your mail. May God rest his soul. We include his family in our prayers. With deep sorrow.
Adriana Velazquez Berumen: Herb Will be greatly missed in our community. He was extraordinary person. Condolences to all His family. May He rest in peace. May God bless him and his family! His wife, 2 children and grandchildren!
Ratko Magjarević: I just couldn’t believe that the information we got through Facebook was true, and I was trying to find some official confirmation from the BU on the Internet. Now, after confirmed from Krishnan, actually from Herb’s son, it became a fact. Herb was a nice person and a good friend, and I will miss him personally, and at the same time it is a large loss for IFMBE and for biomedical engineering community. I share the sorrow with his family.
Marc Nyssen: Very sad indeed.
Kang-Ping Lin: It is unacceptable that Herb’s passing. Herb was friendly and willing to give juniors advice. His brilliant contributions towards biomedical engineering in the world, in particular, towards young scholars in the Third World, are valuable. His confident speeches and laughs will be missed forever.
Tom Judd: Thank you Herb for a life well lived, serving others. His wife Ronit, children, and grandchildren, and wider family (he was oldest of 9 siblings) are in our prayers. You will be missed locally and globally.
Jim Wear: Judy and I have known Herb and his family for several years and have done social things with them. We are really shocked and sad about losing him and especially so far from his home. We are offering our prays to his family for their great loss. It would be nice if the IFMBE/CED could do something to honor his contribution to Clinical Engineering.
Mario Forjaz Secca: I was really saddened! I had become good friends with the family, and his daughter Emily had the kindness of sending me a private message through Facebook to let me know. It was a shock. I sent a message right away to all the AC members, some of them did not know. We will have a proper homage during WC 2018. All the best.
Rossana Rivas: Herb was a distinguished person, partner and colleague. It was great to work with him in activities in Peru and other countries and also learn from his vision and commitment with the profession, the community and the culture, Herb won’t be forgotten as he inspired teams around the world. My prayers and love for Herb and his family.
Ernesto Iadanza: I’m really shocked and terribly sad.
Nicholas Adjabu: Sad to hear this My condolence the family and all. May soul rest in perfect peace.
Saide Calil: This is a shocking news. Herb was a very active person, always willing to help people and full of energy for new projects. You are right, he will be missed a lot by all of us. Last week we spoke about adding some suggestions for the abstract he was writing for the Congress. It is really a great loss for the BE and CE community.
Fred Hosea: Can we establish some kind of memorial award in Herb’s name? His loss is a cruel and crushing blow to us all, personally and professionally. Hopefully, CED can help create some kind of leadership award in his name.
Zheng Kun: Dear All, On behalf of many colleagues from CSCE (Chinese Society of Clinical Engineering) and me myself, we are sending our deepest condolences to Prof. Herb Voigt family as well as his close friends for their great loss. We met Prof. Herb Voigt in person during the congress of the first ICEHTMC held in Hangzhou China in 2015. What a huge loss his pass away brought to the global BME/CE community!
Yadin David: This is very sad news and such a large loss that will be hard to overcome. Herb, as we knew him, was great family man, first to volunteer in his community, leader in our profession and model teacher. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and vast number of friends he impacted and left behind.
Mario Castaneda: Indeed, he will be missed. His contributions, and his passing have touch my life.
Mohammad Ameel: May his soul rest in peace.
Eva Bezak: Extremely sad and shocking news KY. Herb has been superb leader and advocate for our professions. Huge loss.
Lenka Lhotska: I cannot still believe it. Herbert was very good friend and he supported us first in the candidacy and then in preparation of the World Congress.
Maria Siebes: What a tragic and unexpected loss! Herb was exceptionally committed to support the young and underprivileged, while tirelessly serving the BME community, the Federation, and IUPESM with integrity and dedication. His friendly attitude and calm courteous demeanor even in the face of difficult negotiations will be sorely missed.
Bruce Wheeler: What a huge loss for the world of Biomedical Engineering and for the Voigt family. Herb had tremendous impact in his multiple roles across multiple continents.
Mario Forjaz Secca: I am in a state of shock. I cannot believe that our dear colleague and friend, Herbert Voigt, has died suddenly of a heart attack! He was still so young! He dedicated so much energy to Biomedical Engineering and to this Federation that he believed in so!!! A good homage is due for him during WC 2018! He will be sadly and greatly missed.
Min Wang: We were still talking a week ago in the CoS EB teleconferencing meeting. Herb has always been setting up the teleconferencing meetings for us and taking minutes. He has dedicated himself to biomedical engineering. Surely he will be missed by all of us who have had the opportunities of getting to know him and working with him. He was President of both international federations. The federations may need to consider a special session dedicated to him in WC2018.
Guillermo Avendano: Many times life is very unjust, neither his family nor us his colleagues, deserve to lose a so valuable person, curiously yesterday, for no reason I had the memory of a pleasant conversation with Herb and his wife at the restaurant of the hotel in Tampere. I will appreciate if someone can send my condolences to his family, for this loss that I regret so much.
Timo Jamsa: I have not much to add on what is said. We have had a loss of a person who we all know as our friend and colleague, and who has made a great work for BME and the society, locally and globally. As Monique and Min wrote, we just few days ago shared CoS EB telco with him. If anyone will be in contact with his family, please forward my condolences.
Lee Fong: I am shocked and saddened by this news! I had the privilege of meeting Prof Voigt twice and he exhibited such passion for his work.
Monique Frize: It was with disbelief that I read Mario’s message today and am devastated! I cannot stop thinking about this tragic news, especially that is it about Herb who was so young and such a dedicated biomedical engineer within IFMBE and IUPESM and so many other organizations! He arranged the teleco for the CoS EB 10 days ago and, as usual, sent the minutes very quickly. He sounded as he normally does: so knowledgeable and energetic! He will be really missed, as a colleague and as a friend! We need to recognize his contributions and celebrate his life in Prague.
Shauna Mullally: I’m so sad to hear this. Herb had such a warm, engaging presence and his dedication to serving others through his work always shone through.
Tony Easty: I first came to know Herb well during the preparation work for the 2015 World Congress. His constant help and advice was invaluable and he always tried to be as open and inclusive as possible. He always thought carefully about the situations that we faced and was creative and collegial in suggesting solutions. This experience gave me a special appreciation for Herb, both as a scientist and as a human being. Reading his list of interests and his accomplishments makes me realize just what a fine person we have lost. The world is a poorer place for his passing. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
Baset Khalaf: It is really sad to hear the passing on of Herbert. My sincere condolences to his family. Clearly, he is the man of achievement to our community. May his soul Rest In Peace.
Jennifer Jackson: I am heartbroken but reconciled knowing that he left his legacy with countless biomedical engineers that he trained and inspired.
Howell Round: This is tragic news. A colleague who we respected hugely and who contributed so much.
I met Prof. Nagel more than 20 years ago at one of the Mediterranean Conferences in Biomedical Engineering, when Joachim was already an established researcher and well known scientist, and I was entering the arena of BME research. Shortly after that event, Joachim invited me to start collaborating within the frame of the Int’l Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering. One of the first projects we realized was the IFMBE’s Mediterranean Conference which was held in Pula, in Croatia in 2001. At that time, Joachim was already the President-Elect of the IFMBE and I was enjoying listening to his ideas and plans for the future development of the Federation, involving the young generation of researchers into BME and increasing the visibility of the profession. We were usually sitting on a terrace of a small restaurant on the shore in the bay, after the presentations at the Conference and all meetings were finished, looking at the yachts at the anchorage in the marina, letting the breeze bring us refreshment and new, fresh ideas. We continued to collaborate on numerous different IFMBE and later IUPESM projects, until and after Joachim’s retirement, until a few months ago when Joachim withdraw into private life due to health reasons. During all those years, Prof. Nagel has been the leading person or has been actively involved in different initiatives, which resulted in increasing of visibility and importance of biomedical engineers and medical physicists in medicine and health as well as in large number of benefits for IUPESM and IFMBE affiliated societies and individuals.
Joachim Nagel received his Diploma in Physics from the University of the Saarland, Germany, in 1974 and his D.Sc. in Medical Engineering Physics from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, in 1979. Following appointments in industry and as a faculty member at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, he joined the University of Miami, Florida, USA, in 1986, where he served as a Professor of Biomedical Engineering (1986-96), Professor of Radiology (1990-96), and Professor of Psychophysiology (1988-96), Director of the Medical Imaging & Instrumentation Lab (1986-1996), and Director of Biomedical Engineering at the Behavioral Medicine Research Center (1986-1996). In 1996, he accepted the position as Professor of Biomedical Engineering and at the same time the Director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Stuttgart with appointments as Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at the University of Miami. He was the leader of several International Associations: he served as the President of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM) and the President of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). He was a member of the Scientific Council of the International Centre for Biocybernetics of the Polish Academy of Science, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP), a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Founding Fellow der European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Sciences (EAMBES) and an Academician Member of the UNESCO/UATI World Academy of Biomedical Technologies. He has served on the IEEE/EMBS Administrative Committee as a European and as a US representative, and he was a member of the IEEE Engineering Research & Development Committee (Technology Policy Council). He was an honorary member of the Czech Society for Biomedical Engineering and Medical Informatics of the Czech Medical Association of J. E. Purkyně.
In 2012, Prof. Nagel was honored Honorary Life Membership of International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). Also in 2012, he was awarded the IUPESM Award of Merit for his “Outstanding Achievements in Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine”.
Joachim Nagel was an editor of the IOPP Book Series in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and the IFMBE Book Series in Biomedical Engineering, he has served as an Editor for the BMES journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering (1989-94), the IOPP journal Physiological Measurement (1994-98), and he was a member of numerous Editorial and Review Boards. He served as a consultant to NIH, NHLBI, the Scientists’ Institute for Public Information, the American Cancer Society – ACS/NASA Subcommittee, and numerous companies. He has been funded by NIH and the DFG, and he has taken part in EU-funded projects.
His main research interests were in the fields of cardiovascular monitoring, instrumentation and physiology, medical image acquisition and image processing, physiological signals, MEMS, and biological effects as well as therapeutic applications of ultrasound. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, books, book chapters, patents, and conference papers.
Joachim Nagel was the coordinator of the European project BIOMEDEA (Biomedical Engineering Preparing for the European Higher Education Area). The objective of the project was to develop and establish consensus on European guidelines for the harmonization of high quality MBES programs, their accreditation and for certification and continuing education of professionals working within the health care systems.
Prof. Nagel’s contributions to biomedical engineering and medical physics are numerous and it is very difficult to mention them all.
IUPESM Health Technology and Training Task Group
Together with Prof. Barry Allen, Prof. Joachim Nagel established the IOMP/IFMBE Task Group for Health Technology and Training in Developing Countries later called “Health Technology and Training Task Group”. They started to develop policies and a program in accordance with WHO approaches, involving WHO and the governments and health care systems of the countries
with which IFMBE and IOMP are cooperating. Such a program is a milestone in developing healthcare around the world, especially in developing countries.
Collaboration with WHO
Prof. Nagel has considerably increased the cooperation of IUPESM and IFMBE with WHO. As the president of the IFMBE he has participated in WHO General Assemblies in Geneva during his term of office and continued to represent the IFMBE at general assemblies also after 2006.
It is Prof. Nagel’s achievement that IFMBE is included into the WHO’s World Alliance for Patient Safety.
Other NGO activities
Prof. Nagel re-established IFMBE’s status of an NGO at United Nations and included IFMBE into the initiative “Information Society of the UN”. Prof. Nagel also initiated the cooperation of IFMBE with international standardization organizations (ISO, IEC and ITU). IFMBE has meanwhile been accepted as member of the World Standards Cooperation.
Prof. Nagel recognized the value of IFMBE publications, mainly its Journal MBEC and its potentials. Therefore, he was leading negotiations with the most significant publishers in the field of biomedical engineering and together with other members of the Journal Committee decided to sign a contract with a new publisher, Springer. He achieved three major successes for the IFMBE:
Prof. Nagel was working actively in biomedical engineering and medical physics education not only as a university professor and Head of the BME department, but he also initiated a series of workshops on biomedical engineering and founded a European project BIOMEDEA in 2004. The BIOMEDEA project gathered BME societies and BME university programs. This initiative resulted in a number of documents (criteria, guidelines and protocols) for harmonization and accreditation of biomedical engineering and science programs. The project has also dealt with training, certification and continuing education of biomedical and clinical engineers working with the healthcare system.
During the realization of this project it became evident that this project is interesting not only for Europe but also for the BME community worldwide, so that at the III BIOMEDEA meeting,
representatives from all over the world were present. The success of the BIOMEDEA project encouraged Prof. Nagel to continue it with that activity with a strong support of the IFMBE which incorporated many of the BIOMEDEA policy statements into policy IFMBE policies.
Prof. Nagel has found it his professional obligation to attend and to communicate with IFMBE members at all possible levels and in all regions. Such an open and friendly approach resulted in the increase of applications for IFMBE co-sponsorship and endorsement of worldwide BME conferences. Prof. Nagel continued this policy also as IUPESM president.
Positions held in IUPESM
IUPESM President, 2006-2009
Member of Congress Coordinating Committee
ICSU Liaison Committee
Member of the Administrative Council of IUPESM
Positions held in IFMBE
Member of the Administrative Council since 1997
President-Elect and Vice-President, 2000-2003
Immediate Past President, 2006-2009
Chairman of the Federation Journal Committee, 2004 -2007
Chairman of the Publications and Publicity Committee, 2000 -2007
Chairman of the Awards Committee, 2000-2003
Co-Chairman of the Awards Committee, 2003-2006
Member of the Education and Accreditation Committee
Member of the WHO Committee
Member of the EAMBES Executive Board, 2003-2004
Editor of the IOPP/IFMBE/IOMP book series since 2002-2006
Editor of Springer biomedical engineering book series
Co-Founder and Coordinator IFMBE Proceedings Series 2001-2006
Co-editor of IFMBE Proceedings Series
Prof. Nagel has also held a number of positions in many other learned societies and organizations. Prof. Nagel is a distinguished scientist who contributed to biomedical engineering and science and published a large number of scientific publications.
I have never met any person, scientist or engineer, who has been as much engaged and as much successful in representing interests and achieving aims of a scientific organizations in biomedical engineering as Prof. Nagel. In many years of his work, Joachim earned many friends and admirers, and he also changed many people’s lives for the better. I am honored to have been among them.
Dear colleagues of Biomedical Engineering,
We are sad to announce that our colleague Professor Nozomu Hosimiya passed away on 25 January 2017.
Nozomu Hoshimiya was born in Japan, 1941. He received the Ph.D. degree in electronic engineering from Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, in 1969. From 1972 to May 1982, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering, School of Engineering, Tohoku University. From June 1982 to April 1988, he was a Professor in the Research Institute of Applied Electricity, Hokkaido University. Starting in May 1988, he was a Professor in Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University (Chair of Biomedical Electronics). He was a Vice-President of Tohoku University in 2001–2002. He was the President of Tohoku Gakuin University from 2004 to 2013. He was a chancellor of Tohoku Gakuin (educational institution) in 2007-2015.
His principal fields of interest are the following biomedical engineering fields: functional electrical stimulation (FES) as a neural prosthesis, especially its application to rehabilitation fields; self-organizing neural networks, especially on the recognition and generation of the spatio-temporal patterns; and physiological instrumentation. Dr. Hoshimiya was an Ad-Com Member of the IEEE/EMBS in 1989–1990, and was a founding Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, in 1993–1996. He was also an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Japan Society of Medical Electronics and Biological Engineering, 1991–1995. He has been an AIMBE Fellow since 2002. He was a Vice-President of the Japan Society of Medical and Biological Engineering in 1998–1999. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) in 1999–2000, and has also been the President of Japan FES Society since 2004–2005. He has been IEEE Fellow and Life Fellow since 1994, 2008, respectively.
We deeply regrets this loss and sends sincere condolences to Prof. Hoshimiya’s family, friends and students.
IFMBE Administrative Council
Dear colleagues of Biomedical Engineering,
The board of the Brazilian Society of Biomedical Engineering (SBEB) is sad to announce that our colleague Professor Antonio Fernando Catelli Infantosi passed away on 16 March 2016.
Prof. Infantosi is one of the biggest names in Biomedical Engineering in Brazil, he was one of the founders of the Biomedical Engineering Program of COPPE-UFRJ, the SBEB and journal Research on Biomedical Engineering (RBE). He was President of SBEB several times and president of the Latin American Regional Council on Biomedical Engineering (CORAL).
The board of the SBEB deeply regrets this loss and sends sincere condolences to Prof. Infantosi’s family, friends and students.
Prof. Sérgio Santos Mühlen, DSc, CCE
President of the Brazilian Society of Biomedical Engineering – SBEB
Our friend and our colleague Prof Robert Brown sadly passed away on 4th February 2016 at the age of 64. An extraordinary human being, Robert is survived by his mother Doris Brown, his daughter Elizabeth Pelichet, his son Michael Brown and grandson Finlay Brown. His passing is a huge loss to the UCL community and the tissue engineering community in the UK, Europe and Internationally. He was as well a key figure of the IFMBE Working Group for Cell and Stem Cell Engineering.
Robert was awarded his Ph.D. in 1976 by Manchester University where, under the supervision of Dr J.B.Weiss, he successfully defended his research into “A Molecular Dissection of Rheumatoid and Normal Synovial Membranes with Special Reference to their Collagen Contents”. This started his lifelong fascination of all things collagen. He had a brief stint with industry working first as a research assistant and then as Deputy Head of R&D with Blood Products Laboratory (Elstree) between 1977-1983 before joining UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Royal National Orthopaedics Hospital, Stanmore as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer ( 1984-1992). In 1992 on his promotion to Reader he moved his research base to Bloomsbury as Director of the Tissue Repair Unit which he setup along with the UCL Tissue Engineering Centre (TREC). In 2002 he was appointed as UCL’s first Professor of Tissue Engineering and moved his research base back to Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Royal National Orthopaedics Hospital, Stanmore. He was a founding member of the British Tissue Engineering community and past president of the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES) UK.
His key research achievements were in understanding the control of growth, especially nano-micro struc-ture, in 3D tissue models. 2 key output innovations underpinned this: orientated fibrillar fibronectin cell scaffolds and the Culture Force Monitor (CFM) model, measuring/applying directional loads to 3D culture. He was a pioneer in developing 3D models and their use in elucidating the effect of mecha-nics. His research innovation (Plastic Compression -rapid, biomimetic fabrication process for collagen tissues) established him as an international leading scientist for biomimetic tissue engineering. His ability to collaborate across disciplines resulted in many successful research alliances with leading scientists in the UK, Europe and Internationally. He successfully supervised over 30 M.D. and Ph.D. students, over 60 M.Sc. projects and numerous post-doc researchers. Throughout his career at UCL Robert was a beloved teacher, a sought after research supervisor, collaborator and friend to many UCL colleagues across Faculties. He was also a very popular and highly regarded scientist in the Tissue Engineering community nationally and internationally.
Robert leaves behind a rich legacy of scientific innovations, motivated students with successful careers and scientifically productive collaborations across the UK, Europe and Internationally. But most importantly he leaves behind a legacy of global friendships brought together by Robert’s passion for science and human beeings. We feel honoured to have spent time with a distinguished scientist, a funny storyteller and remarkable man. Rest in peace our dear Robert.
Chair IFMBE Working Group, Cell and Stem Cell Engineering,
February 11th, 2016
On September 14, Keith Copeland, one of IFMBE’s most distinguished members, passed away.
Keith Copeland was born on the 28th of August 1921 in Bury St. Edmunds, UK, and received his education at Cullford School in Suffolk. After passing the examination for the civil service, he started his professional life in the Air Ministry in the Works Directorate on the maintenance of aerodromes and was then called up to the Royal Air Force for training as a radio and wireless mechanic.
In 1941 he was summoned to war and was employed at numerous radar stations in England and India, working on special radar equipment that was used for navigating aircraft. After the war he resumed his work at the Air Ministry until he was offered a position in the Biophysics Department of the University College London.
It was the year 1947 when neither hospitals nor research facilities had sufficient equipment, so Keith started working to design and develop instruments for physiological research and many of his devices, such as simulators, ended up in hospital use. Today we would call somebody doing this kind of work a Biomedical Engineer. Over the next years, Keith Copeland became acquainted with others working in the same field, some of whom even had the same background and they started to call their research Medical Electronics. Like everywhere else in the world, there was no professional biomedical engineering society in England at the time, there were only the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), and the British Institution of Radio Engineers that later became part of the IEE. Therefore communication among those working in Medical Electronics was loose even within a country and there was no globally established network. It was a logical next step in the further development of the profession to establish an international framework for communication and collaboration, and in June of 1958, about 50 leading scientists in the new field, Keith Copeland among them, met in Paris to prepare the foundation of “The International Federation for Medical Electronics” and to organize the new Federation’s first conference. The meeting became known as the “First International Conference on Medical Electronics” and the participants represented 9 countries.
In 1971, during the 9th International Conference of the Federation, which had changed its name to International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering, Keith Copeland, Secretary General of the Biological Engineering Society (BES) of the UK at the time, was asked – quite unexpectedly, as he said himself – to become the Federation’s new Treasurer. Keith agreed and he kept that position for 14 years, which meant beneficial, long time continuity for the Federation and its financial matters. Keith Copeland contributed to the prosperity of the Federation by negotiating the Federation’s journal contracts with the publisher, and, after long negotiations with the British Office of Revenue, he succeeded to obtain tax-exempt status for IFMBE in 1985.