When Leland Clark started high school and discovered that science was an academic discipline, complete with course work, lab sessions and grades, he said, "It was like discovering that you could get a grade for eating chocolate ice cream."
One of the few students to score a perfect 100 on the New York State Regents science exam, Dr. Clark attended Antioch College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Later, he taught at Antioch, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Alabama.
Clark has more than 80 inventions to his name - with medical applications that range from emergency room care to molecular research.
More than almost any single invention, the Clark Oxygen Electrode has revolutionized the field of medicine for the past 50 years. Allowing for the real-time monitoring of a patient's blood oxygen level, Clark's electrode has made surgery safer and more successful for millions of people throughout the world.
Introduced in 1956, the blood oxygen electrode quickly found a place in operating rooms and critical care facilities everywhere. Since then, its remarkable versatility has helped trigger advances in cell culture, molecular genetics, aviation and space flight, soil chemistry and even in wine and beer production.
In addition to the Clark Oxygen Electrode, he developed the first heart-lung machine that could be completely disassembled and sterilized, as well as the technology behind the glucose biosensor used by millions of diabetics and other patients every day.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Clark has pursued his dream of creating artificial blood. While making notable progress toward a solution, that technology remains in the very early stages of development.
In 1985, Leland Clark received the American Physiological Society's Hyrovsky Award, in recognition of the invention of the membrane polarographic oxygen electrode. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Association for Biomedical Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.