Prosthetics Pioneer Dies

Melvin Glimcher, inventor of the prosthetic “Boston Arm,” which moves in response to electrical signals from the wearer, has passed away at age 88.

By | June 3, 2014

HARVARD, STEPHANIE MITCHELLMelvin Glimcher, the orthopedic surgeon who invented an arm prosthetic that could be controlled with neural signals from nerves in the remaining stump and who uncovered critical details about proteins involved in bone formation, died last month (May 12). He was 88.

Glimcher was the first tenured chair of orthopedic surgery at Harvard, a position he held since 1964. An MD with an engineering background, he was able to bring insights from both disciplines to his research, which included studying human gait, as well as bone genetics and formation.

As a young recruit in the US Marines Corp, Glimcher studied mechanical engineering and physics at Duke University and Purdue University. He went on to study medicine at Harvard and later studied biochemistry, biophysics and engineering as a PhD student at MIT. Although he completed the training requirements, he chose not to get a PhD.

At Harvard, Glimcher’s daughter Laurie followed in his footsteps, earning a named chair in immunology, making them the first father and daughter to hold endowed professorships at Harvard Medical School.

“He understood that from very early on when none of the rest of us did,” Eric Radin, who studies joints at Tufts University told The New York Times, calling Glimcher “an intellectual giant.”

Glimcher is survived by three daughters.


Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Rethinking the Rise of Mammals
    Daily News Rethinking the Rise of Mammals

    Mammals diversified 30 million years later than previously estimated, according to a new analysis of an ancient fossil.

  2. Wiping Out Gut Bugs Stops Obesity
  3. Birth of the Skin Microbiome
    Daily News Birth of the Skin Microbiome

    The immune system tolerates the colonization of commensal bacteria on the skin with the aid of regulatory T cells during the first few weeks of life, a mouse study shows.

  4. Battling the Bulge
    Bio Business Battling the Bulge

    Weight-loss drugs that target newly characterized obesity-related receptors and pathways could finally offer truly effective fat control.

Life Technologies