Control of Breathing Using an Extracorporeal Membrane Lung. By T Kolobow, L Gattinoni, TA Tomlinson, JE Pierce. Anesthesiology 1977; 46:138–41. Reprinted with permission.

Body Position Changes Redistribute Lung Computed-Tomographic Density in Patients with Acute Respiratory Failure. By L Gattinoni, P Pelosi, G Vitale, A Pesenti, L D’Andrea, D Mascheroni. Anesthesiology 1991; 74:15–23. Reprinted with permission.

Dr. Gattinoni’s scientific career was primarily driven by curiosity. His generation was not formally trained, but he was part of a community of young and enthusiastic colleagues who were forging a new discipline: intensive care medicine. The most significant opportunity of Dr. Gattinoni’s career was becoming the research fellow of a visionary genius, Dr. Theodor Kolobow, who focused on extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal after the failure of the first trial on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. CO2 removal, by allowing control over the intensity of mechanical ventilation, opened the path to “lung rest” to prevent ventilator-induced lung injury. A unique opportunity for research was the spontaneous birth of a network of scientists who became friends in the European Group of Research in Intensive Care Medicine. In this environment, it was possible to develop core concepts such as the “baby lung” and to understand the mechanisms underlying computed tomography–density redistribution in the prone position. Physiology guided us in the 1970s, and understanding mechanisms remains of paramount importance today.

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