Robert Fischell has had two pioneering careers: his current one inventing life-saving medical devices, and a former one helping create the modern era of space satellites so critical to communications, entertainment, business and national security.
Robert Fischell (born 1929) is a physicist, inventor, and holder of more than 200 U.S. and foreign medical patents. His inventions have led to the creation of several biotechnology companies. He worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full time for 25 years, and part time for an additional 13 years. He contributed to APL's satellite navigation work, and later developed a rechargeable implantable pacemaker that could be programmed with radiowaves, (Pacesetter Systems Inc., purchased by Siemens, now the CRM division of St. Jude Medical). He and his team at Hopkins also helped miniaturize the implantable cardiac defibrillator. Mr. Fischell went on to invent the implantable insulin pump (MiniMed, spun off from Pacesetter Systems, Inc. in 1985), numerous coronary stents used to open clogged arteries (IsoStent, Inc. merged with Cordis, in turn purchased by Johnson & Johnson), and two extraordinary feedback systems that provide early warning of epileptic seizures (NeuroPace, Inc.) and heart attacks (Angel Medical Systems, Inc.). Fischell recently donated $30 million to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation to establish a bioengineering department and an institute for biomedical devices at the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
In 2005, he was awarded the TED Prize, receiving $100,000 and three wishes, including a braintrust on medical liability and the successful design of a device to cure migraines.
Mr. Fischell received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 1951 and M.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland in 1953. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1996.
He has 3 sons (from oldest to youngest), David, Tim, and Scott Fischell. He is currently married to Susan R. Fischell and they live in Maryland.