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Obituary: Professor Carlo De Luca

Posted on September 26, 2016
Carlo De Luca (1944-2016)

Carlo De Luca (1944-2016)

Carlo De Luca, a long-time member of the ISB, passed away Wednesday, July 20th 2016 at the age of 72.  Carlo contributed to biomechanics in many ways, in particular in the area of electromyography. His original research and reviews on EMG are seminal.

Carlo was born in Bagnoli del Trigno, Italy.  He obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia, and MS. and PhD from Queen’s University.  It was at Queen’s that he met that other great expert in electromyography John Basmajian; their collaboration resulted in the 1985 edition of Muscles Alive: Their Functions Revealed by Electromyography.  After completing his PhD he worked at the Liberty Mutual Research Center, servings as Project Director for over 20 years.  While with Liberty Mutual he held academic appointments at MIT, and Harvard Medical School.  In 1984 he joined Boston University, where he held the titles of Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Director of the NeuroMuscular Research Center, Research Professor of Neurology, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Professor of Physical Therapy.  At Boston University he trained more than forty graduate students, and even more research associates.

In 1993 Carlo founded a company, Delsys, which sells hardware and software for EMG.  The separate wing of Delsys, Altec, was formed in 1997; it performs original research on new EMG methodologies.  Carlo was both founder and CEO of these companies.

Carlo in recognition of his research has received many awards and honours including,

  • Fellow of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology, 2016
  • Borelli Award from the American Society of Biomechanics, 2012
  • Tibbetts Award (Small Business Technology Council of the USA), 2006
  • Isabelle and Leonard H. Goldenson Technology Award (United Cerebral Palsy Foundation), 1999
  • International Volvo Award on Low Back Pain Research (International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine), 1989

Professor De Luca was the Founder and President of the Neuromuscular Research Foundation.  This foundation supports research in the fields of electromyography, motor control, and biomechanics across the globe.  Indeed many ISB students in recent years have been the recipients of the largesse of the foundation (and Carlo).  For the International Society of Biomechanics Carlo has been the personal sponsor of the Emerging Scientist Award.  He has also been a major instigator of the ISB Working Group on Biomechanics, a group which has organized four symposia to date.

Biomechanics has lost one of its leading contributors, but whose work will continue to have impact.

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