Professor Alberto U. Ferrari
The Journal of Hypertension regrets to announce the death of Professor Alberto Ferrari. The Journal has many reasons to mourn his loss, and this is especially the case for its Executive Editorial Board of which Alberto Ferrari has been a member since 1995. Professor Alberto Ferrari took his medical degree at the School of Medicine, University of Milan, in 1972, and thereafter attended for 4 years the Post-graduate School of Cardiology. He then joined our research group at the Istituto di Ricerche Cardiovascolari of the University of Milan at that time directed by Professor Cesare Bartorelli. Since the very beginning Alberto Ferrari focused his research activity on the pathophysiological aspects of cardiovascular control, which were in those years one of the main themes that the Milan group addressed in experimental animals as well as in man. Alberto very soon became a fundamental figure in that line of research, crucially contributing to the most important data that were published by the group in the late 1970s and 1980s, among which the carotid baroreflex control of the circulation in normotensive and hypertensive man, the setting of a new technique to study the daily life baroreflex function (thereafter adopted worldwide), and the alterations of as well as the mechanisms responsible for blood pressure variability in subjects with normal or elevated blood pressure. From 1982 to 1983 he spent as a research fellow two years in Iowa City, US, where he published important studies on other aspects of normal and deranged cardiovascular regulation under the guidance of and in collaboration with Dr. Allyn Mark and the other members of that prestigious team. On his return to our group in Milan, he set up his own laboratory at the Centro di Fisiologia Clinica e Ipertensione and continued to be the driving force of important and often truly innovative animal and human cardiovascular research until his very last days, first as an investigator of the Italian National Research Council, then as Associate Professor at the University of Milan, and finally, in the last 10 years, as Professor of Medicine at the University of Milan-Bicocca.
The European and the International Societies of Hypertension have many reasons to feel gratitude to Alberto Ferrari. As a member of the scientific and local organizing team he has importantly contributed to the success of the many ESH meetings that have been held in Milan. Since 1995 he has been a member of the Executive Editorial Board of the Journal (the official Journal of the two Societies), a task which he has addressed with great technical competence and perception of the novelty and implications of the submitted contributions. All contributors to the Journal of Hypertension whose manuscripts were dealt with by Alberto Ferrari as Executive Editor will have appreciated his sharp judgement and his fairness in balancing the reviewers' criticism and the authors' argumentations. He has been the originator and then the organizer, within the annual ESH meetings, of the ‘young investigators’ scientific sessions. This has proved to be one of the most illuminated and successful initiatives of ESH because it has allowed many European but also extra-European scientists to make their first experience at a large international meeting, with a positive reflection on their motivation to continue in their scientific career.
All the above is even more admirable because Alberto fought a battle against cancer in the last 8 years of his life. He always knew that he would eventually succumb, but he did not allow this to interfere with his professional tasks and diminish his dedication to the Journal and to research, in both of which he continued to take active interest until the end. Only in the very last few weeks before his death he had to give up and was unable to honour the state-of-the-art lecture he had been invited to deliver at the ESH-ISH meeting in Berlin.
The best way a scientific journal can honour one of its editors and contributors is to remember him as a scientist. For this reason, the Journal of Hypertension dedicates this issue to Alberto Ferrari's memory. We would also like that our dear colleague is remembered for his courage and dignity in the last years of his life. We can truly say of him that ‘he taught us how to live but also how to die’.
Alberto was an intelligent, brilliant and dedicated physician and scientist, but also a charming person with many interests outside his work, including sport activity. His friends and colleagues will keep a dear memory of him and miss him immensely. Our thoughts are with his lovely wife, Lorenza, and his six children.
Alberto Zanchetti, Giuseppe Mancia, Guido Grassi, Alberto Morganti, Gianfranco Parati, Andrea Stella