Savio Woo Receives 2012 IEEE Gold Medal For Innovations in Healthcare Technology

Issue Date: 
February 20, 2012
Savio Woo with a robotic/Universal-Force Sensor  testing systemSavio Woo with a robotic/Universal-Force Sensor testing system

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has named Savio Woo, Distinguished University Professor of Bioengineering and founder and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC) in the Pitt Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering, as the 2012 recipient of the IEEE Gold Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology.

The prestigious award is presented for outstanding contributions and/or innovations in engineering within the fields of medicine, biology, and healthcare technology. It is sponsored by the IEEE’s Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. The IEEE, which is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, recognized Woo for “pivotal contributions to biomechanics and its application to orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine.”

“Savio Woo is a great scientist and engineer,” said Gerald D. Holder, the Swanson School’s U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Dr. Woo has previously been awarded the Olympic Gold Medal in Sports Medicine, the only engineer ever to be so recognized, and this award cements his status as one of the leading healthcare engineers in the world.”

As a pioneer in biomechanics research and education, Woo is known for having profoundly impacted the field of sports medicine and the management of ligament and tendon injuries, in particular. He and his team have developed the concept of “controlled motion is good,” showing the benefits of joint movement and early weight-bearing activities during rehabilitation compared to immobilization following surgery. Woo used robotic technology together with bi-planar fluoroscopy to replicate motions of the knee and shoulder in everyday activities and determined the forces that these motions generate in ligaments and tendons. Such knowledge has led to improved surgical procedures and better recovery time for patients with injuries.