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* Leslie Geddes
* Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

January 2009

Purdue's Leslie Geddes has distinguished teaching, research career

Leslie Geddes
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Leslie Geddes, the first recipient of Indiana's Dr. Philip E. Nelson Innovation Prize, is Purdue University's Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering.

During a career that has spanned more than 50 years, his research has spawned innovations ranging from burn treatments to miniature defibrillators, ligament repair to tiny blood pressure monitors for premature infants.

Geddes, 87, began his career in 1952 at Baylor University College of Medicine and was recruited to Purdue in 1974 to help the university develop an organized biomedical engineering research center and create new technologies in the field. In 2004 Geddes received the university's Outstanding Commercialization Award to recognize his 30 patents, many now licensed by Indiana companies. Patents and technologies emerging from Geddes' lab have generated $15 million in royalties for Purdue.

His most recent discovery was a new method for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation that he says will be more effective than standard CPR.

Geddes officially retired in 1991, when he was named a distinguished professor emeritus, but he has continued his teaching and research. He received the 2006 National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush in a White House ceremony in 2007. The award is the nation's highest honor for technological innovation.

Geddes earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1945 and a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1953, both from McGill University, and a doctoral degree in physiology from Baylor University College of Medicine in 1959. He received an honorary doctoral degree from McGill in 1971.

He was born on May 24, 1921, in Port Gordon, Scotland.

Among his accomplishments are:

* A regenerative tissue graft made from a layer of a pig's intestines known as small intestinal submucosa, or SIS, which has been used by surgeons to treat more than 200,000 patients so far.

* An automated miniature defibrillator - a device that jolts the heart with electricity during a heart attack - that is small enough to implant inside a person.

* A pacemaker that automatically increases a person's heart rate during exercise.

* A portable electrocardiograph that patients use to monitor the electrical patterns of their own hearts.

* A miniature cuff that fits over the pinky-size limbs of premature infants to measure blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates, and the amount of oxygen in the blood.

* A device that tells medical personnel whether they are properly administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The device could be crucial in saving lives because every minute of delay in resuscitation reduces the chance of survival by 10 percent.

Geddes' work has brought monetary benefits to Purdue researchers as well. One-third of the $15 million in royalties goes into the university's venture fund, which supports other research to develop new technologies. Indiana-based companies that have licensed and commercialized Geddes' inventions are Cook Biotech Inc., DePuy Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., and Hillenbrand Industries.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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