College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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BME MONITOR: The Biomedical Engineering Department Newsletter


2007 Newsletter
Featured articles

Experiential learning: BME undergrad design competition stresses real-world challenges

Research may yield improved treatment of diseased lungs

Translational research: Medicine, hand-delivered

Translational research:
Ultrasound waves reflect tissue mechanics

Translational research: 'Balloon' effect:
Blocking aneurysms

Translational research: For ACL repair,
closing the 'gap'

Translational research: Fast, efficient MR imaging

Translational research: Seven new projects launched

Graduate student service award honors Corrine Bahr

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Faculty news:
David Beebe cited as pioneer of miniaturization

In memoriam:
Prof. Paul Bach-y-Rita

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IN MEMORIAM: Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita

Paul Bach-y-Rita

Paul Bach-y-Rita
(Larger image)

Decorative initial cap Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita (also rehabilitation medicine), whose research revolutionized the fields of neurobiology and rehabilitation, died Nov. 20. Bach-y-Rita began medical school at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México at age 17 and earned his MD in 1959. Initially, he traveled the globe conducting various research projects, but his career path changed forever when his father suffered a stroke. Bach-y-Rita set up a rehabilitation center for his father and nursed him to a full recovery. The experience reinforced Bach-y-Rita’s theory that brain functions are flexible, not hard-wired.

Most notable was his work in the field of sensory substitution. The research has helped blind people navigate hallways and people with balance disorders walk easily. Eventually, it might help stroke patients recover in full.

Based on this research, Bach-y-Rita co-founded the company Wicab Corp., which developed a device that delivers sensory information to the brain through a helmet and electrodes.

He joined the University of Wisconsin in 1983 as chairman of the rehabilitation medicine department and later also joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Bach-y-Rita is survived by his wife, Esther, four daughters, a brother and a sister.

To honor his memory, the University of Wisconsin Foundation has established the Paul Bach-y-Rita Lectureship Fund, which will support a UW-Madison lecture presented annually by a distinguished neuroscientist familiar with his contributions. To contribute, go to Under “designation,” select “other, detailed below.” In the box labeled, “If you would like to further restrict your gift … ,“  type in Paul Bach-y-Rita Memorial Lectureship Fund, Fund #12584843.

The spring 2007 issue of On Wisconsin, the magazine for UW-Madison alumni, featured an extensive story about Bach-y-Rita and Lecturer Mitch Tyler, who co-founded Wicab. Download a PDF at

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Copyright 2007 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Date last modified: Monday,30-July-2007 15:43:00 CDT
Date created: 30-July-2007



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