March 18, 1924 – Jan. 25, 2013
Dr. Goran Enhorning, an emeritus professor at the University at Buffalo whose research has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of premature babies, died Jan. 25 in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 88.
Dr. Enhorning conducted pioneering studies in the 1960s and 1970s into respiratory distress syndrome, often fatal to babies born more than a month prematurely. His work proved the effectiveness of lung surfactant replacement therapy and led to the development of several clinical surfactants.
“[He] was not the only physician scientist who contributed to the development of this therapy,” said Dr. Edmund Egan of UB, who worked closely with Dr. Enhorning in developing the surfactant Infasurf, “but he focused the world scientific community, and his innovations and leadership are directly responsible for the worldwide success of surfactant replacement therapy today.”
Born in Birkdale, England, he grew up in Sweden and received his medical degree from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 1952. He began a practice in obstetrics and gynecology after serving for two years in the Swedish Red Cross Hospital during the Korean War.
He completed his doctorate on the causes of urinary stress incontinence at Karolinska in 1961, was awarded a Fulbright grant and spent three years doing pulmonary research at the University of Utah and UCLA.
Returning to Stockholm, he became a professor at the Karolinska Institute and developed equipment for the study of respiratory distress syndrome. As a professor at the University of Toronto from 1971 to 1986, he did much of his groundbreaking research. He then joined the UB Medical School faculty, continuing his research into lung diseases of older children and adults.
By 1998, he had focused on asthma and attempted to determine if it, too, was surfactant-related.
He and his wife were the owners of the Surf and Sand Oceanfront Resort in Vero Beach, Fla., from 1991 to 2002. They became full-time residents of Vero Beach in 2004.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Louise Carlberg; three sons, Ulf, Dag and Peder; and a daughter, Marianne.
Memorial services will be held in Sweden in May and in Canada during the summer.