David Auth, former UW professor of electrical engineering, has been awarded the 2006 Inventor of the Year Award by the UW School of Medicine. The award recognizes Auth’s pioneering work to improve surgical care through less invasive technologies.
Auth, professor of electrical engineering from 1969 to 1982 and affiliate professor of bioengineering since 1985, was honored for his collaborations with the School of Medicine physicians to better understand upper gastrointestinal bleeding and how it could be controlled with endoscopes, tubes inserted into the digestive system. The National Institutes of Health-funded research resulted in methods to control bleeding using lasers and direct application of heat.
In 1981, Auth developed the Rotoblator arterial plaque cleaner, a high-speed rotatational device with a diamond-encrusted burr on the end of a catheter, which removes brittle plaque while leaving normal tissue intact. The Rotoblator is among Auth’s 100 patented medical devices. He also founded Heart Technologies. When it was sold in 1995 to Boston Scientific Corporation, it had 500 employees and annual revenues of $80 million.
Auth currently serves as a director of four medical device companies and is active as an inventor, developer and consultant in the medical device industry.
The UW School of Medicine, Frazier Health Care Ventures, the Washington Research Foundation, and several local biotechnology, medical device and venture capital businesses honored Auth at a reception Oct. 10 at the Seattle Art Museum in Volunteer Park.