Distinguished Alumni Awards

David Mortara

David Mortara

For pioneering contributions to the development of innovative electrocardiography technologies that have revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Founder and President, Mortara Instrument, Inc.

  • BS, 1961, Physics, Purdue University
  • MS, 1963, Physics, University of Illinois
  • PhD, 1966, Physics, Purdue University

David Mortara has been a leader in the field of electrocardiography (ECG), making significant contributions to cardiology. He has been a prolific inventor and visionary entrepreneur who has guided Mortara Instrument from start-up to international industry leader in diagnostic electrocardiography, particularly in innovations in ECG interpretation, digital ECG, and ECG signal processing.

Mortara, who served on the Illinois faculty from 1966-73, founded Mortara Instrument in 1982 with one guiding principle: design to a need, keep it simple, and keep it affordable. True to his vision, Mortara Instrument has created a complete line of ECG products, from noninvasive diagnostic cardiology devices for individual practitioners to hospitals, to ECG algorithms, to a unique platform for clinical research, that have revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. From its early start in Milwaukee, Mortara Instrument now has operations in Australia, Italy Germany and the Netherlands.

Prior to founding his own company, Mortara was manager of research and development, and later vice president of engineering, at Marquette Electronics, where he developed the simultaneous 12-lead ECG acquisition system and interpretation algorithm that was the technological foundation for virtually all ECG devices in use today. He is the holder of 10 US patents and the author of numerous professional publications.

Mortara is a founding member of the International Society for Computers in Electrocardiography (ISCE) and, from 1988-2003 served as co-chair of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentations’ ECG Committee, which is responsible for establishing performance standards for cardiac monitors, ECGs, Holter monitors and stress exercise equipment.

In 2011, Mortara was inducted as an honorary fellow of the American College of Cardiology in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the science of electrocardiography, one of very few recipients of the award who are not doctors of medicine. He is also a Distinguished Alumnus of Purdue University (2003).