The Brown University News Bureau
Distributed March 8, 1997
Contact: Scott Turner
Vice President for Biology and Medicine Emeritus
Dr. Pierre M. Galletti, 1927-1997
A memorial service will be held at noon Monday, March 17, in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America to celebrate the life of Pierre M. Galletti, M.D., Ph.D. Galletti, 69, died in Providence, R.I., at 12:15 a.m. Saturday,
March 8, 1997, of injuries from a fall. He was the first chief executive officer of Brown's Division of Biology and Medicine and was instrumental in establishing the Brown University School of Medicine. (See
obituary in March 9 Providence Journal-Bulletin.
OBITUARY EDITORS: The University memorial service has been scheduled for noon Monday, March 17, in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. The following information outlines some of Dr. Galletti's contributions to medical education and research at Brown University. For additional information or photographs, please contact the Brown News Bureau.
- Dr. Pierre M. Galletti, M.D., Ph.D., was University Professor, professor
emeritus of medical science, and vice president emeritus at Brown
- He was a former director of the Artificial Organ Laboratory at Brown
University and former head of its Artificial Organs, Biomaterials and Cellular
Technology group, which was elected to the American Institute for Medical and
Biological Engineering in 1995.
- Galletti came to Brown in 1967 as professor of medical science and the
following year was appointed chairman of the new Division of Biological and
Medical Sciences, the institutional incubator for Brown's medical school. In
1972, when Brown and a group of local hospitals committed themselves to a full
M.D. program, Galletti became vice president and chief executive officer for
the Division of Biology and Medicine. In 1991, he left the vice presidency to
devote his time and attention to major research projects in biomaterials and
artificial organs and to teaching and consulting appointments here and in
- Galletti, a native of Switzerland, earned his M.D. from the University of
Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1951 and his Ph.D., also from Lausanne, in 1954. His
specialty was physiology and biophysics, a field now known as biomedical
engineering. After a residency in internal medicine at the University Hospital
in Zurich (1954-1957), he joined the research group of Dr. P. Salisbury at
Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, which operated one of the earliest
programs in clinical hemodialysis and cardiopulmonary bypass for cardiac
surgery. He joined the faculty of the Department of Physiology at Emory
University in 1958, where he developed a graduate program and research
laboratory devoted to physiological aspects of cardiorespiratory assistance and
the theory and technology of artificial organs.
- Galletti was the author of more than 250 works on the science and
application of artificial organs and other organ replacement techniques. He was
a co-inventor on seven U.S. patents. He was editor of the artificial organs and
prostheses section of the Biomedical Engineering Handbook and co-author
of its chapters on the artificial lung, kidney, liver and pancreas.
- He was a former president of the American Institute for Medical and
Biological Engineering (AIMBE). In 1992, he was named a fellow in the College
of Fellows of the AIMBE, an honor bestowed on only 2 percent of individuals
active in the medical and biological engineering community.
- Galletti was president, chief executive officer and chair of the
scientific advisory committee of Fondazione per le Biotecnologie of
Turin, Italy, a non-profit, public-private foundation dedicated to professional
and public education on the use of biotechnology.
- He was a director of SORIN BIOMEDICA, of Torino, Italy, and former
chairman of its board and former director of its scientific advisory committee.
He was also a director of SORIN BIOMEDICAL Inc., of Irvine, Calif. He was a
member of the scientific advisory committee of I-STAT Inc., of Princeton, N.J.,
and CARDIOPULMONICS Inc. of Salt Lake City. He was chairman of the board of
directors of INCStar Inc., Stillwater, Minn. He helped found CytoTherapeutics
Inc. of Providence, R.I., and chaired its scientific advisory board.
- Galletti served on several advisory groups for the National Institutes of
Health, exploring issues involving artificial hearts, artificial kidneys and
- He was outspoken about the need for public policy that would ensure
availability of medical devices and implants for critically ill patients.
- Galletti was a former president of the American Society for Artificial
Internal Organs. He was a trustee of the International Society for Artificial
Organs and was president of the organizing committee for its 11th annual world
congress to be held in June in Providence.
- He was a former editor of the journal Cardiology and the Journal
of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. He served on the
editorial boards of the International Journal of Artificial Organs,
Clinical Biomaterials and Medical Engineering and Physics.
- He was a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, foreign
correspondent of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Brussels, an Honorary Foreign
Associate of the Medical Academy of Turin and a corresponding member of the
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.
- He was a trustee of the Morehouse College School of Medicine in Atlanta
and an overseer and chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee of the
Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
- Galletti was born in Monthey, Switzerland, on June 11, 1927. He was 69 years old.
"It was with great shock that all of us at Brown University learned about
the premature death of our academic leader and scientist Pierre Galletti," said
Brown University President Vartan Gregorian. "Pierre Galletti was the architect
of our medical school and its partnership with several hospitals in Rhode
Island. It was during his watch that Brown developed its Program in Liberal
Medical Education and strengthened its programs of biomedical research. He was
an outstanding administrator, great scientist and wonderful human being. His
long and distinguished service were so appreciated that when he retired, it was
my great honor to designate him a University Professor and vice president
emeritus. On behalf of the entire Brown community, I express our
profound sympathy to his wonderful wife Sonia and son Marc-Henri."
"He was one of the very few people with the ability to know how to develop a
good idea in the academic research setting and to transfer it to industry,
where it could be produced and distributed," said Peter Ivanovich, M.D.,
professor of medicine at the Northwestern University Medical School and
president of the International Society for Artificial Organs.
The Brown University School of Medicine
Brown's School of Medicine is one of the nation's youngest, having granted
its first M.D. degrees in 1975. It has also been recognized as one of the
nation's best medical schools for primary care. Since it began building a
medical education program in 1960, Brown has tightly integrated medical studies
with broader University resources in the arts, humanities and sciences. Its
first program, approved by the Board of Fellows in 1962, was a six-year course
of study combining the undergraduate experience with two years of medical
study. Graduates of that program earned a Master of Medical Science degree;
many went on to other medical schools for the final two years of clinical
training to earn their M.D. degrees.
In 1968, the University continued to build toward a full medical school,
forming the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences. Galletti was named
chairman. A formal affiliation agreement with community hospitals followed in
1969 to provide a base for clinical instruction without having to create a
large, central University-sponsored teaching hospital. The University approved
expansion to a full M.D. program in 1972.
Brown's commitment to the integration of medical studies and broader liberal
arts has remained a central feature of the School of Medicine. In 1985, Brown
announced the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), which combined the
four undergraduate years and the four medical school years into a single
eight-year experience in which medical students continue their non-medical
academic interests throughout their years at Brown.
Brown has also been a national leader in the recruitment and retention of
women and minority students. Its early identification programs have attracted
medical students from such traditional black institutions as Tougaloo College,
and its special programs of summer study have helped attract and retain
minority students from Providence and throughout the country.
As the only medical school in Rhode Island, Brown and its affiliated
hospitals have brought about a significant improvement in the quality of health
services, including development of highly advanced medical and surgical