In 1966, John Milsum, PhD, founded the BioMedical Engineering Unit (BMEU), which went on to become our Department of Biomedical Engineering. I had the pleasure of taking his course on biological control theory in 1969. In the first two days, in addition to various biological systems, he discussed engineering control theory as related to the arms race, the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ and predator-prey relationships. Very heady stuff for a young engineering undergraduate, and things that he said still resonate in my teaching and research today.

Minicomputers in biomed research

For an earlier undergraduate project that I worked on in 1968 under Charles Laszlo (Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering, UBC and former professor in the BMEU), we used a LINC-8 computer in the OTL Research Labs at the Royal Victoria Hospital to measure newborns’ heart rates in response to sounds, as an automated objective hearing test. That project introduced me to the addictiveness of interacting directly with a minicomputer. It also led to my becoming a graduate student under Charles.


Memories of John H. Milsum

Brief history of Biomedical Engineering at McGill


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