By Sara Cody
Professor Emeritus Carlo J. De Luca (BME, ECE), who played a leading role in the College of Engineering’s early development as a research institution, died on July 20. He was 72 years old.
De Luca joined the faculty in 1984, having previously served at MIT, Harvard Medical School and Queens College (where he earned his doctorate). He also held appointments as research professor of neurology at the School of Medicine and professor of physical therapy at Sargent College. De Luca also served as dean ad interim of the College of Engineering from 1986 to 1989.
In a message to faculty, Dean Kenneth Lutchen noted De Luca’s impact on the College’s early efforts to establish a research portfolio. “Carlo was the director of the Neuromuscular Research Center and was probably the first real star research faculty recruited to the College of Engineering. His reputation helped attract some of leading faculty thereafter,” Lutchen said. “Our standards of excellence as a research college perhaps started with Carlo.”
De Luca is known for introducing engineering principles to the field of electromyography, a diagnostic procedure that records electrical activity in muscle tissue. He founded Delsys Inc. in 1993, a company that produces wearable sensors for movement technology, where he served as its president and CEO until his death.
“Carlo De Luca was a world-leading innovator in using engineering methods to study human motor function. Many of the textbook findings in this research area were due to Carlo’s efforts,” says Professor and Chair John White (BME). “He was a critical early hire in building the research reputation of the BU College of Engineering.”
De Luca was a Founding Fellow of two Bioengineering societies (American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Society), and a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Biomedical Engineering Society. He served a term on the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of National Institute of Health and two terms as president of the International Society of Electrophysiological Physiology. De Luca was also the founder and president of the Neuromuscular Research Foundation.
He received the 2012 Borelli Award, from the American Society of Biomechanics, the 2006 Tibbetts Award from the Small Business Technology Council of the USA, and the 1999 Isabelle and Leonard H. Goldenson Technology Award from the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, among other awards.
Funeral services were held on July 25. Expressions of sympathy can be made by donation in Carlo De Luca’s memory to the Rebecca Miksad MD, MPH Discretionary Fund at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.