Governor to honor Purdue engineer with 2008 Nelson Innovation Award
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Governor Mitch Daniels will honor biomedical engineer Dr. Leslie A. Geddes with the 2008 Dr. Phillip E. Nelson Innovation Award for his groundbreaking accomplishments in medical research and treatments.
"The work of a great scientist and inventor like Dr. Geddes does more to improve people's lives than that of any politician or business leader," said Daniels. "The contributions he has made to our state not only through his scientific innovations but also the lives he has inspired are exactly why we honor him today."
Dr. Geddes, 87, the Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University, is the first to receive the award. Daniels created the award in 2007 to recognize outstanding Hoosier scientists for their unique discoveries, research and inventions, and to encourage young people to consider careers in science.
The Nelson Innovation Award is named to honor of Dr. Phillip E. Nelson, a Purdue University scientist awarded the 2007 World Food Prize for his revolutionary achievements in the field of food processing.
Geddes began his academic career in 1952 at Baylor University College of Medicine and was recruited to Purdue in 1974 to lead the creation of a biomedical engineering research center to undertake advanced research and develop new marketable technologies. His seminal research in biomedical engineering has spawned innovations ranging from burn treatments to miniature defibrillators and from ligament repair to tiny blood pressure monitors for premature infants. His breakthroughs form a cornerstone of much of the modern implantable medical device field, as noted when he received the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest technical honor, from President George W. Bush in 2006.
Geddes received the university's Outstanding Commercialization Award in 2004 to recognize his 32 patents, many now licensed by Indiana companies including Cook Biotech Inc., DePuy, Inc. and Eli Lilly & Company. In 2008 Dr. Geddes was inducted into Purdue University's Book of Great Teachers.
Geddes has written 23 books and published more than 800 scientific papers. Though officially retired since 1991, Geddes still comes to work every day around 4:30 a.m. to teach and continue ongoing research projects. He has educated more than 2,000 biomedical engineers in his lifetime.
"I think one of his key attributes is his ability to inspire people, including students, faculty and industrial collaborators, to think creatively and innovate," said George Wodicka, head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. "Everyone who works with him is energized by his curiosity and his willingness to test new ideas."
The Nelson Innovation Award selection committee consisted of five Hoosier scientists from the state's universities and private industry. Geddes will receive a commemorative plaque and a $5,000 honorarium from the privately funded Indiana Economic Development Foundation.
"In every way possible, we are seeking to elevate Hoosier appreciation for science and technology and the people who excel in it," said Daniels. "We hope our young people will increasingly aspire to pursue these studies and these careers."