In Memoriam

Obituary: Luciano Martini 1927–2017

It is with sadness that we report the death of Luciano Martini, one of ESE’s first Honorary Members. Professor Martini, who received his Honorary Membership in 2008, passed away on 13 July at the age of 90. He was formerly Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Milan Centre of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases, Italy. He had served as President of each of the International Society of Neuroendocrinology (1980–1984), the International Society of Endocrinology (1988–1992), and the European Federation of Endocrine Societies (1994–1998).

Luciano Martini: A Memoir from Marcella Motta, also on behalf of his pupils

An internationally acclaimed authority in the field of endocrinology and in particular of neuroendocrinology, a brilliant and imaginative scientist, an intense and intellectual man, an illuminated and open mentor. These few words outline the profile of Professor Luciano Martini.

Luciano passed away on July 13 at the venerable age of 90, thus ending a career full of outstanding scientific achievements, of leadership positions in national and international societies as well as in academies and committees.

Luciano earned his medical degree from the University of Milano in 1950. He was, then, appointed at first Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor of Pharmacology, a position held until 1968, when he became full Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Perugia and later in 1970 at the University of Pavia. In 1972 he rejoined the University of Milano as full Professor of Endocrinology and Chairman of the newly founded Department of Endocrinology, a chairmanship which lasted until 2001 when he was honored Emeritus Professor by the University of Milano. During these years he has been the founder and coordinator of the PhD Course in Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences and founder and director of the Post-graduate School in Experimental Endocrinology. Three outstanding scientists played a significant role  in the development of Luciano’s scientific life: Professor Emilio Trabucchi, the enlightened pharmacologist, who introduced him to the world of endocrinology; Professor Geoffrey W. Harris, the father of neuroendocrinology, who  was struck by the  capability of the young  Italian scientist to master science and offered him advices, suggestions and a long-lasting friendship; Professor Gregory Pincus, the father of the birth control pill, who was impressed enough by  his early scientific work to invite him some years later to present a paper at the well known Laurentian Hormone Conference. That letter of invitation gave Luciano a welcome indication that although Italy was distant from US academic scene he could have had free access to the scientific communities of foreign countries, as it occurred. And so, Luciano succeeded in obtaining a substantial and prestigious financial grant from the Ford Foundation in New York in 1967.  Indeed he served as director of the training and research program titled Physiology of Reproduction for almost 20 years. This conspicuous support allowed Luciano to attract in his department capable Italian scientists and numerous foreign investigators and to address his interests mainly to the study of neuroendocrine regulation of reproductive functions.

Scientific severity, ethical integrity, fine perception and deep farsightedness were at the base of Luciano’ scientific life. He was never an academic clinician but thanks to his medical training he realized that a deep understanding of the biological phenomena as well as a strong interest in the development of new drugs would have been beneficial for improving diagnosis and for discovering new therapeutical approaches of endocrine diseases. Moved by his desire to bring endocrine research forward Luciano created the first scientific group devoted to experimental endocrinology which year after year grew up in number and visibility and became well recognized internationally. P.Limonta, R.Maggi, P.Magni, R. Melcangi, P.Negri-Cesi, A.Poletti joined the original group composed of F.Celotti, F.Fraschini, G.Giuliani, G.Mangili, E.Muller, A.Pecile, F.Piva, M.Zanisi and potently contributed to the development of new lines of research.  Luciano delivered to the international literature more than 400 peer-reviewed papers mainly in the fields of neuroendocrinology, endocrinological oncology, physiology of reproduction, steroid and energetic metabolisms.

Equally wide and prestigious was Luciano’s editorial activity: credit should be given to the 2 volumes of Neuroendocrinolgy which have been influential for the diffusion of this fast-moving discipline and to the series of 9 biannual volumes titled Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology transformed later in a quarterly Journal still existing. He was also the Editor in Chief of Comprehensive Endocrinology published in 12 volumes and of The Encyclopedia of Endocrine Diseases. For his scientific achievements Luciano held honorary doctorates in medicine at the University of Liege, the University of Santiago de Compostela, the University of Pecs and in biotechnology at the University of Milano. His honors also include among the many the 1968 Junkman- Schoeller award from the German Society of Endocrinology, the 1978 Italian ministry of education gold medal, the 1982 Axel Munthe and the 1989 Feltrinelli awards. He served as President in many national and international scientific societies which the International Society of Neuroendocrinology, the Italian Society of Endocrinology and the International Society of Endocrinology stand out from. He founded and then became the President of EFES, the European Federation of Endocrine Societies, which then became ESE, the European Society of Endocrinology, of which he was the first honorary member. He also was national member of the prestigious Institution “Accademia dei Lincei” and effective member of the “Accademia di Scienze e Lettere.

Luciano’s portrait could not be complete if one forgets to mention the passion for music which has accompanied him since the very beginning. He was a well-trained and gifted pianist as well as a diligent and passionate music listener and a deep connoisseur of all types of music even the contemporary music looked at with deep attention and criticism. In addition he also was an amateur of visual arts and deeply interested in the history of the twentieth century.

Professor Luciano Martini, you will be mourned by all who closely interacted with you but also by all who crossed your path at distance in one way or the other. You will forever be remembered as “Il Maestro”, the pioneer of neuroendocrinology in Italy, the ambassador of the Italian science in the world, but above all, the generous and friendly guide, an unforgettable legacy. We all miss you. With gratitude.

Obituary: Carmen Vulpoi, Romanian Endocrinologist, 1956–2017

Carmen Vulpoi, MD, leader of Romanian Endocrinology, passed away Friday 22nd September 2017 at the age of 60, after a long illness. Professor in Endocrinology at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Gr.T.Popa" Iasi, she was president of the Romanian Society of Endocrinology, vice-chancellor and member of the doctoral school of the same university. A prominent personality of the Romanian school of endocrinology, with an unequaled mental energy and enthusiasm, student of well-known Eusebie Zbranca, Carmen Vulpoi was a great scientific leader. She graduated in 1985 (UMF "Gr.T.Popa" Iasi), started the specialization of endocrinology in 1988 and the university career in 1991. Her professional experience include among other 2 stages in France, as trainee in endocrinology in Grenoble (1994, Professor Ivan Bachelot) and as “chef de clinique assistant” in Tours (2001-2003, Prof. Pierre Lecomte), Germany (Freiburg, Munchen) and UK (Edinburgh & London).

Carmen Vulpoi was involved in many national professional bodies, secretary, vice-president and president elect being of the Romanian Endocrine Society; also president of the Romanian Thyroid Association. She was member of international endocrine societies: Society for Endocrinology, ESE, ESPE, ISE, and Endocrine Society. She was member in the editorial board and peer-reviewer of best quoted national journals (Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Acta Endocrinologica-Bucharest, Romanian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism). She is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed original papers, chapter of books, and editor of books.

She has formed generations of disciples, has created multiple axes of international collaboration, being permanently at the service of academic principles. She continued and wanted to participate to endocrine meeting in order to continue the collaboration and development of endocrine research, which even under the pressure of the disease wanted to fulfill them.

As a physician, she sought to help, heal, and relieve suffering. Beyond the refinement of modern medicine, she transmitted the art of words that alienate, which convinces and connects the patient with his doctor, giving confidence and hope.

As president of the Romanian Society of Endocrinology, she managed to gather specialists from the border areas, to put into practice bold ideas. She organized numerous scientific events in Romania, developed pre-congress educational events, and promoted the development of education in endocrinology in line with international development. Constructive spirit and eager for stability in a world that is overwhelmed, she has succeeded in bringing prosperity to Romanian Society of Endocrinology.

Beyond these important achievements, it is worth mentioning the people she has formed, starting on a beautiful and sometimes hard road, she taught them the principles and discipline of the profession, with tenacity, performance and brilliance. She spread the flame of knowledge around her, gave hope, and formed personalities.

She was knocked down after a long struggle she drove with dignity. Our dear Carmen will remain alive in our memory, those she has formed and those who have known her. We were lucky to have her close to us. In everything we are professional, Carmen is with us.

Obituary: Gianfranco Bottazzo, 1946-2017

We are sad to report the death of Professor Gianfranco Bottazzo, born in Venice, a pupil of the School of Professor Mario Austoni, graduated in Padua in 1971. After graduating he moved to London at the Middlesex Hospital where he worked with Professors Ivan Roitt and Deborah Doniach eminences in the field of autoimmunity. He has conducted numerous studies and discoveries in the field of endocrine autoimmunity, which have contributed to the progression of our knowledge and to opening new horizons in this field of medicine. He specialised in Clinical Immunology and Allergology at the University of Florence in 1974 and in Endocrinology at the University of Padua in 1979. After his return to Italy as Scientific Director of Bambin Gesù in Rome, he continued his research on endocrine autoimmunity. The death of Professor Bottazzo is a great loss for the national and international scientific community. All his friends and colleagues remember him with deep esteem and affection.

Padova 15 September 2017

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