With great sorrow, I write this memoriam for Professor Dr. Ing. Helmut Reul. We lost Helmut Reul on November 3, 2004.
When the organizers of the First International Conference on Pediatric Mechanical Circulatory Support Systems and Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Perfusion decided that one of the three Key Note Lecturers would be an investigator with a pure engineering background, Helmut Reul immediately came to my mind. All of the organizers unanimously approved Helmut as our Key Note Lecturer on the design and engineering aspects of pediatric heart pumps. Helmut accepted our invitation and helped us tremendously in selecting Invited Lecturers for this event. Most of the lecturers from Europe were recommended by Helmut.
Helmut was one of the most productive scientist–engineers working on mechanical circulatory support devices. We lost not only a leader in artificial organs research, but also a true friend who cared a lot about his friends. Only a couple days before he passed away, he asked Wolfgang Kerkhoffs to give this Key Note Lecture on his behalf. That’s how much Helmut really cared about this conference.
In memory and out of respect for Helmut Reul’s contributions, I have created a Young Investigator Award in his name. The Helmut Reul, Ph.D. Young Investigator Award will be given to young investigators with exceptional engineering skills each year as long as this international event continues to be held. Guenter Rau, professor emeritus at the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Helmut’s friend and colleague for several decades, gave the first award to Dr. Kerem Pekkan based on his manuscript entitled, “Coupling Pediatric Ventricle Assist Devices to the Fontan Circulation: Simulations with a Lumped-Parameter Model.”
Helmut’s Key Note Lecture was changed to a lecture about Helmut and his contributions to the development of pediatric cardiac assist devices. Professor Rau agreed to co-chair this special lecture. Helmut’s colleagues, Wolfgang Kerkhoffs and Dr. Ing. Uli Steinseifer, gave Helmut’s lecture on his behalf. I wish all the best to Dr. Steinseifer, Helmut’s successor.
We express our sincere condolences to Helmut’s family, friends, and colleagues for their great loss. We have lost an accomplished investigator and fine friend, and we desire to build upon the great contributions Helmut has made throughout his distinguished career.
This article was extracted from Dr. Ündar’s earlier publication in the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Pediatric Mechanical Circulatory Support Systems and Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Perfusion, Volume 1, May 2005.