Biographical / Historical
Ronald James Leonard was a biomedical engineer and inventor, born on August 17, 1939, in Cuba, New York, a son of Margaret and Roy Leonard. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, New York, in 1961. He continued his education at Northwestern University in 1962, receiving his Master's in Mechanical Engineering. However, the majority of his work experience was centered in the biomedical engineering field.
He worked for the Naval Ordinance Lab in 1961, Allis-Chambers Research Division from 1962 to 1966, Travenol Laboratories from 1967 to 1985, and the Sarns/3M Company from 1985 to 1997. His early work at Allis-Chambers dealt with fuel cell power supplies. When he worked at Travenol Laboratories, a part of Baxter International Inc., and at the Sarns/3M Company, he helped develop and manufacture several medical devices and products for people with specific disorders, diseases, and conditions. He also worked as an adjunct assistant professor for Northwestern Technological Institute. In his retirement years, he did consulting work. He was also a member of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs and the International Society for Artificial Organs (now known as the International Federation for Artificial Organs).
Leonard designed and patented several devices, including blood oxygenators and heat exchangers, as well as the hollow fiber tubing within the oxygenator. He held more than thirty U.S. patents. Much of his work was dedicated to improving and perfecting these devices, which were widely used for bypass surgeries and aided the lives of many Americans. His dedication to his work, constant research, and developments is clear in the many devices, studies, and years of service he provided.
Ronald J. Leonard passed away, January 14, 2007, at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, when he was 67 years old.