Published April 4, 2013
Goran Enhorning, an emeritus professor whose research has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of premature babies, died Jan. 25 in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 88.
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.
Edmund Egan, UB professor of pediatrics who worked closely with Enhorning in developing the surfactant Infasurf, said that while Enhorning was not the only physician scientist who contributed to the development of this therapy, his innovations and leadership were directly responsible for the worldwide success of surfactant replacement therapy.
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 1971-86, 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.