October 20, 2020


Aim for Excellence

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 property on Aug....

Edward W. Merrill, professor emeritus of chemical engineering, died peacefully at his property on Aug. 6 at the age of 96, surrounded by his small children and grandchildren.

A longtime chemical engineer at MIT, Merrill was a founding contributor to the industry of organic engineering. He designed the area of biomaterials and in excess of a 66-12 months vocation pioneered many fields of bioengineering.

“Ed produced an indelible mark on each existence he touched, professionally and individually. Not only did his study contributions aid much better the lives of thousands, but his motivation to education and mentorship served shape a era of biomedical engineers,” says Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch (1962) Professor in Engineering and head of the MIT Division of Chemical Engineering. “I skilled it to start with-hand as a college student and a co-trainer he lifted the bar for all of us.”

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on Aug. 31, 1923, Merrill grew up in Jamaica Simple and West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and attended the Roxbury Latin School prior to entering Harvard College in 1941 to study the classics. He obtained a BA in chemistry from Harvard College in 1944 and pursued doctoral experiments at MIT under the way of Herman P. Meissner. Merrill obtained his ScD in 1947 doing work on revolutionary theories and experimental experiments of polymer adhesion. Upon graduation, he was utilized by Dewey and Almy (later on part 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 traveling to lecturer in chemistry at Harvard College from 1952 to 1958, a specialist at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of Boston from 1960 to 1972, a specialist of the Kid’s Hospital in Boston from 1969 to 1972, and a specialist of the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston from 1969 to 1985. He has also served as main scientist and specialist in biochemical engineering to Harvard College Health and fitness Companies from 1984 to 1998.

In the nineteen fifties and ’60s, Merrill was the main scientist in blood rheology. He investigated the impact of the hematocrit, various plasma proteins, and white blood cells on blood viscosity and movement conduct, and he designed correct experimental applications for rheological investigations of blood (which includes the patented GDM [Gilinson-Dauwalter-Merrill] viscometer) under reasonable in-vitro circumstances. In the 1960s and seventies, Merrill was a pioneer in the growth of the synthetic kidney, evaluation of its transport qualities, and optimization of hemodialyzer membranes. In actuality, Merrill’s revolutionary perform on synthetic kidneys, with Professor Clark Colton PhD ’69 and Robert A. Britton ScD ’67, led to the growth of the to start with Nationwide Institutes of Health and fitness pointers for synthetic kidneys in the 1960s. In the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, he pioneered the industry of protein/polymer conversation under stagnant and movement circumstances and produced outstanding contributions in the growth 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 very biocompatible content in an influential 1979 paper and did substantial experiments to review its stricture and blood response. Merrill’s tips on PEO as a non-thrombogenic biomaterial led to an explosion in the use of PEG- and PEO-adorned biomedical programs. In 1973, Merrill pioneered silicone-centered speak to lenses that turned the basis of the hard, oxygen-permeable speak to lens know-how. Merrill’s perform on very cross-linked polyethylene in the nineties with William H. Harris led to the new irradiation-cross-linked, large density polyethylene (HDPE) products utilized in synthetic joints this sort of as knee and hip replacements.

Merrill’s contributions in the area of biomedical apps of aerosol engineering ended up also substantial and led to the use of dipalmitoyl-lecithin aerosols for procedure of infants born with hyaline membrane condition (respiratory distress syndrome). Finally, he produced substantial and sustained contributions to drag reduction phenomena. Merrill was the inventor of far more than forty U.S. patents and about 230 worldwide patents.

“Professor Merrill was in all probability the leading biomedical engineer of the 20th century,” says Nicholas Peppas ScD ’74, the Cockrell Household Regents Chaired Professor at the College of Texas at Austin and advisee of Merrill, “Not only did he build the fundamentals of the industry, and arrived up with revolutionary innovations of blood movement rheometers, non-thrombogenic biomaterials, superior speak to lenses, treatment plans of the respiratory distress syndrome, and the most productive products for joint replacements, but he also turned a wonderful educator and mentor who directed and encouraged hundreds, if not thousands, of biomedically-oriented students of numerous backgrounds and nationalities.”

Merrill individually supervised fifty seven PhD and 62 MS students, and 12 postdocs in his vocation. About 35 of these turned professors in engineering, sciences, or drugs in tutorial establishments. 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 ended up detailed in the 2008 AIChE checklist of “one hundred Eminent Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.” Fifty-5 of his tutorial descendants are members of the key academies now: 28 are Nationwide Academy of Engineering (NAE) members, 19 are members of the Nationwide Academy of Medicine (NAM), three are Nationwide Academy of Sciences (NAS) members, and 5 are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Many U.S. and worldwide providers have been launched on his revolutionary study tips by his students and some others.

A wonderful trainer, Merrill taught courses on polymers, biomaterials, transport phenomena, and medical sciences at MIT. His MIT program entitled “Chemical Engineering in Medicine and Biology,” supplied in 1963, was the to start with this sort of program in the United States. Merrill was a worried educator and mentor who welcomed in his laboratories several experts from other countries. He experienced a near association with Paul Rempp of the Macromolecular Heart of Strasbourg, France, and in 1991 wrote an impactful reserve 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 1990-96. He was also specialist to the conservator of the Division of Prints, Drawings, and Images at the Museum of Wonderful 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 obtained the Founders Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2000, the Founders Award of the Modern society for Biomaterials (SFB) in 2003, and the Pierre Galletti Award from the American Institute of Health care and Biological Engineers in 2010. AIChE experienced 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 1 of the “100 Eminent Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.”

Merrill married Genevieve “Ginette” de Bidart on Aug. 19, 1948, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ginette passed away seven months previously 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 fantastic satisfaction in his two small children and three grandchildren and loved the time he spent with them immensely. He was not only a father and grandfather, but a mentor and inspiration to all who encountered him. His existence and his wisdom will sorely be skipped by all whose lives he touched, and he will be greatly skipped by his family members. The family members has currently held non-public solutions.