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Dr. Robert E. Fischell and the Fischell Family

"The finest goal that engineering can achieve is to improve the quality of life for people throughout the world. Our gifts to the Clark School will help engineering students develop their ideas to improve health care for millions of human beings."

Dr. Robert E. Fischell

"The university is fortunate indeed to have the friendship of Bob Fischell and his sons as it upgrades its graduate program into a department of bioengineering. The opportunity to create the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices opens a new chapter in the marriage of engineering and medicine with sharp focus on creating devices to enhance the quality of human life."

C.D. Mote, Past President, University of Maryland

In 2005, Clark School benefactor Robert E. Fischell and his family donated $31 million to establish the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the University of Maryland. The Fischell family's transformational gift was a major step in the Clark School's continuing rise into the ranks of the nation's premier engineering schools.

Scientist and engineer 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.

the fischells
David, Robert, Scott and Tim Fischell.

Fischell, who holds more than 200 patents, is the father of modern medical stents, lifetime pacemaker batteries and implantable insulin pumps. He is also the father of his closest collaborators: sons Dr. David Fischell, physicist; Dr. Tim Fischell, cardiologist; and Scott Fischell, M.B.A.; who share his passion for changing the world through inventive genius, hard work and philanthropy.

One of the latest results of their collaborations is a pacemaker-sized implantable computer that provides the earliest possible warning of impending heart attack. Fischell founded Angel Medical Systems Inc., where son David is CEO, to bring this technology into use. Named by his granddaughter Jennifer Fischell, Angel Medical is one of more than half a dozen companies, including Pacesetter Systems, IsoStent, NeuroPace, and NeuraLieve, that Fischell has founded since 1969 to develop his inventions. NeuroPace is developing a new implantable device for ending epileptic seizures. NeuraLieve is developing a magnetic pulse device that stops migraine headaches.

Mrs. Susan Fischell is the creator and sponsor of our department's annual Capstone Design Awards. In this competition, launched in 2009, the top three senior undergraduate project teams as selected by a panel of judges win monetary prizes donated by Mrs. Fischell and are invited to present their work to the public. The teams may also have the opportunity to have their inventions put on track for development at the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices.

Scott Fischell
Scott Fischell talks about one of his father's inventions, which helps eliminate migraine headaches.

Fischell received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Duke University in 1951, and an M.S. in physics from the University of Maryland in 1953. He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in 1996. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has received numerous awards and recognitions including induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. Fischell serves on the Clark School Board of Visitors, as well as on the University of Maryland, College Park Foundation Board of Trustees. In May 2002, Fischell was inducted into the Clark School Innovation Hall of Fame and received Maryland's 2001 Major F. Riddick, Jr. Entrepreneurship Award.

Adapted from "Inventor, Entrepreneur Robert E. Fischell Joins Faculty," E@M Magazine, Fall 2003; and "Biomedical Inventor Robert Fischell's $30 Million Gift Will Support Future Generations of Engineering Innovators," UMD Newsdesk, 12/19/05.

Learn More

"Improving Life for Millions of People"
Clark School news coverage of the dedication of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices.

Dr. Fischell's dedication speech and commentary

The Fischell Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering
A fellowship for graduate students with innovative ideas and "out of the box" thinking seeking to create a medical device or system that will improve human health.