Arthur Pilla

Published on: Oct 19, 2015

Dr. Arthur A. Pilla, Bioelectrochemist Who Invented First Electromagnetic Bone Growth Stimulator, Dies at 80

Photograph of Dr. Arthur PillaDr. Arthur A. Pilla, Ph.D., an internationally recognized authority on non-invasive electrotherapeutics and the inventor of the first bone-growth electromagnetic stimulator device cleared by the FDA, died on October 7, 2015. He was 80 years old. Dr. Pilla conducted pioneering research in electromagnetic field (EMF) effects on living tissue and developed and was awarded 16 patents and has 21 patents pending in EMF therapeutics. He was Founder or Co-Founder of several EMF companies, including Ivivi Technologies and Electrobiology, Inc. and served on several Medical Advisory Boards of various companies using EMF due to his expertise and regulatory experience.

Dr. Pilla was a long-time Bergen County, NJ resident and received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from St. Joseph's College (1958), his Master of Science in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania (1961) and his Ph.D., magna cum laude, in Electrochemistry from the University of Paris, France (1965). 

He was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, NY and Professor Emeritus of Orthopedic Research in the Department of Orthopedics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY. He served as Director of Orthopedic Research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and created and taught the first graduate course in Bioelectrochemistry in the United States at Columbia University in 1973. 

Arthur Pilla’s early studies led to pioneering publications on models and experimental methods for the study of fast electrochemical relaxation processes at porous electrodes for fuel cell and other energy applications. He commenced studies of the bioeffects of weak magnetic and electric fields in 1969, and by 1972 had created the electrochemical information transfer model (ECM) to predict and quantify the bioeffects of non-thermal electromagnetic fields (EMF). This led to the first PEMF clinical trials on non-union bone fractures (1977), which resulted in the first FDA-cleared electromagnetic bone growth stimulator device, and eventually to the Co-Creation of Electrobiology, Inc.  

Dr. Pilla's life-work has been in the bio-effects of pulsed electro magnetic fields (PEMF) and he continued to make progress in the understanding of the basic biophysical mechanisms involved in the bio-effects of electromagnetic signals. Dr. Pilla is the co-author of several professional books in Electrochemistry and Bioelectromagnetics and author or co-author of over 160 medical/scientific publications. He was a long-time member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society and has received national and international awards and honors in the fields of electrochemistry and bioelectromagnetics.

Dr. Pilla was an inspiration to countless graduate students, medical professionals and research scientists in many different areas of medicine and science.  Enthusiastic about teaching the benefits and intricacies of the bioeffects of PEMF, he was a guest speaker of the Bio-Tech Club of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, VA. 

Dr. Pilla's colorful career also included several years as a Semi-Pro Sportscar Racer and decades as a National High Performance Driving Instructor of the Northern New Jersey Porsche Club Region.  He raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona,  the 12 hours of Sebring, as well as other Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) races and taught countless students how to drive their cars safely around a racetrack.

Dr. Pilla was pre-deceased by his wife, Hilda Johanna Dekker Pilla. He is survived by his daughter, Astrid Pilla Tisseront, his son, Ryan A. Pilla and brother Kenneth Pilla, as well as his son and daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.