Professor Emeritus Edward Merrill, chemical engineer who helped found the field of bioengineering, dies at 96 | MIT News

Edward W. Merrill, professor emeritus of chemical engineering, died peacefully at his dwelling on Aug. 6 at the age of ninety six, surrounded by his youngsters and grandchildren.

A longtime chemical engineer at MIT, Merrill was a founding contributor to the area of organic engineering. He designed the spot of biomaterials and around a sixty six-yr career pioneered several fields of bioengineering.

“Ed produced an indelible mark on each lifestyle he touched, skillfully and personally. Not only did his research contributions aid better the life of 1000’s, but his motivation to schooling and mentorship assisted form a era of biomedical engineers,” says Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch (1962) Professor in Engineering and head of the MIT Office of Chemical Engineering. “I experienced it 1st-hand as a university student and a co-trainer he elevated the bar for all of us.”

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on Aug. 31, 1923, Merrill grew up in Jamaica Basic and West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and attended the Roxbury Latin Faculty prior to coming into Harvard Faculty in 1941 to research the classics. He acquired a BA in chemistry from Harvard University in 1944 and pursued doctoral scientific tests at MIT under the course of Herman P. Meissner. Merrill acquired his ScD in 1947 working on groundbreaking theories and experimental scientific tests of polymer adhesion. Upon graduation, he was used by Dewey and Almy (later on portion of W.R. Grace) and joined MIT as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1950. Merrill was appointed the Carbon P. Dubbs Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1973, a placement he held until eventually 1998. Merrill was a viewing lecturer in chemistry at Harvard University from 1952 to 1958, a marketing consultant at the Peter Bent Brigham Clinic of Boston from 1960 to 1972, a marketing consultant of the Children’s Clinic in Boston from 1969 to 1972, and a marketing consultant of the Beth Israel Clinic in Boston from 1969 to 1985. He has also served as chief scientist and marketing consultant in biochemical engineering to Harvard University Well being Solutions from 1984 to 1998.

In the nineteen fifties and ’60s, Merrill was the top scientist in blood rheology. He investigated the effect of the hematocrit, a variety of plasma proteins, and white blood cells on blood viscosity and movement actions, and he designed acceptable experimental instruments for rheological investigations of blood (together with the patented GDM [Gilinson-Dauwalter-Merrill] viscometer) under reasonable in-vitro ailments. In the sixties and seventies, Merrill was a pioneer in the progress of the synthetic kidney, analysis of its transport attributes, and optimization of hemodialyzer membranes. In truth, Merrill’s groundbreaking perform on synthetic kidneys, with Professor Clark Colton PhD ’69 and Robert A. Britton ScD ’67, led to the progress of the 1st Nationwide Institutes of Well being guidelines for synthetic kidneys in the sixties. In the sixties, ’70s, and ’80s, he pioneered the area of protein/polymer conversation under stagnant and movement ailments and produced fantastic contributions in the progress of hydrogels as biomaterials, and in ionic or covalent heparinization techniques on polymer surfaces for antithrombogenic products.

Merrill and Edward Saltzman of Harvard proposed polyethylene oxide (PEO) as a really biocompatible materials in an influential 1979 paper and did significant scientific tests to review its stricture and blood reaction. Merrill’s strategies on PEO as a non-thrombogenic biomaterial led to an explosion in the use of PEG- and PEO-decorated biomedical units. In 1973, Merrill pioneered silicone-based get hold of lenses that turned the foundation of the tough, oxygen-permeable get hold of lens engineering. Merrill’s perform on really cross-linked polyethylene in the nineteen nineties with William H. Harris led to the new irradiation-cross-linked, higher density polyethylene (HDPE) products employed in synthetic joints such as knee and hip replacements.

Merrill’s contributions in the spot of biomedical apps of aerosol engineering were being also significant and led to the use of dipalmitoyl-lecithin aerosols for treatment method of infants born with hyaline membrane sickness (respiratory distress syndrome). Eventually, he produced significant and sustained contributions to drag reduction phenomena. Merrill was the inventor of a lot more than 40 U.S. patents and about 230 global patents.

“Professor Merrill was probably the leading biomedical engineer of the 20th century,” says Nicholas Peppas ScD ’74, the Cockrell Family Regents Chaired Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and advisee of Merrill, “Not only did he establish the fundamentals of the area, and came up with groundbreaking innovations of blood movement rheometers, non-thrombogenic biomaterials, state-of-the-art get hold of lenses, treatment plans of the respiratory distress syndrome, and the most effective products for joint replacements, but he also turned a excellent educator and mentor who directed and suggested hundreds, if not 1000’s, of biomedically-oriented students of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.”

Merrill personally supervised fifty seven PhD and 62 MS students, and 12 postdocs in his career. About 35 of these turned professors in engineering, sciences, or medication in tutorial institutions. About twenty of them turned business people serving as CEOs or other leaders of the chemical, biomedical or pharmaceutical industries. Merrill and eight of his previous students or associates were being shown in the 2008 AIChE listing of “a hundred Eminent Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.” Fifty-five of his tutorial descendants are users of the big academies now: 28 are Nationwide Academy of Engineering (NAE) users, 19 are users of the Nationwide Academy of Drugs (NAM), a few are Nationwide Academy of Sciences (NAS) users, and five are users of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Many U.S. and global corporations have been started on his groundbreaking research strategies by his students and other people.

A excellent trainer, Merrill taught courses on polymers, biomaterials, transport phenomena, and health-related sciences at MIT. His MIT course entitled “Chemical Engineering in Drugs and Biology,” available in 1963, was the 1st such course in the United States. Merrill was a concerned educator and mentor who welcomed in his laboratories various experts from other nations. He had a close affiliation with Paul Rempp of the Macromolecular Middle of Strasbourg, France, and in 1991 wrote an impactful ebook on polymers with him, “Polymer Synthesis.” At that time, he was also a vice-president of the Boston-Strasbourg Sister Town Association and a director of the Alliance Française of Boston-Cambridge from 1990-ninety six. He was also marketing consultant to the conservator of the Office of Prints, Drawings, and Pictures at the Museum of Great Arts, Boston from 1988 to 1998.

Merrill was elected a member of the AAAS, the NAE, the NAM, and the Nationwide Academy of Inventors. He acquired the Founders Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2000, the Founders Award of the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) in 2003, and the Pierre Galletti Award from the American Institute of Professional medical and Organic Engineers in 2010. AIChE had also bestowed on him the 1982 Alpha Chi Sigma Award and the 1993 Charles M. A. Stine Award. In 1990, the SFB awarded him the Clemson Award. At its centennial celebration in 2008, AIChE identified him as one of the “100 Eminent Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.”

Merrill married Genevieve “Ginette” de Bidart on Aug. 19, 1948, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ginette handed absent 7 months before on Dec. twenty, 2019. They are survived by their daughter Anne and son Frank Merrill, and their grandchildren: James, Sasha, and Julia Merrill. Merrill took wonderful pleasure in his two youngsters and a few grandchildren and loved the time he expended with them immensely. He was not simply just a father and grandfather, but a mentor and inspiration to all who encountered him. His presence and his knowledge will sorely be skipped by all whose life he touched, and he will be drastically skipped by his spouse and children. The spouse and children has currently held non-public providers.