Legacy Research Institute

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In Memorium: Lutz A. Kiesow, MD, PhD.

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Message from Joe Frascella, PhD, Vice President of Research:

It is with great sadness that I learned of the recent passing of Lutz A. Kiesow, MD, PhD, who came to Legacy Health and established the Legacy Research Institute (LRI). Although I did not know him personally, nor had I ever met him, his name is often spoken with great warmth and respect by those who worked with him here at LRI. Dr. Kiesow came to Legacy from the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, MD, where he was institute director.

The following are the words and reflections of Dr. Kiesow by Dr. Michael Bottlang, director of the Biomechanics Laboratory at LRI.

Dr. Lutz A. Kiesow was a scientist, inventor, visionary, and mentor. After his scientific and medical training in Berlin, Germany, he advanced his career in the US to become the director of the Naval Medical Research Institute of the Office of Naval Research in Bethesda, Maryland. His inventions included devices for measuring photochemical reactions, blood oxygen levels, and temperature and vapor levels, using optical sensors. From 1966 to 1996, he was awarded a series of patents for his inventions that were licensed by Baxter Laboratories. After his career as a scientist and inventor, he moved to Portland, Oregon, and became the founder of Legacy’s Clinical Research and Technology Institute (later to become the Legacy Research Institute). He convinced Legacy, a relatively young, regional hospital system, to start a fully-fledged, centralized research operation from the existing research being done. The impact of such a move soon proved him right. He had a clear vision for the need and value of translating science from the research bench to the bed-side in order to improve patient care. Adopting policies and structures from the Office of Naval Research, he formed a nimble research enterprise, comprising clinical, basic and applied research, and he carefully selected a diverse team of established as well as young scientists. Especially for the young scientists, the biggest asset to this research institute was his fatherly mentorship. He allowed them ample leeway for scientific exploration, but also guided them towards important milestones for their careers. His ability to listen, his genuine interest to foster young scientists, and his experience and guidance made him an outstanding mentor, responsible for the careers of many. His scientific curiosity was guided by Paul Broca’s quote that “the least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable ones.” Being an outstanding listener, he was a man of few words, that when spoken were profound, encouraging, and kind. Most importantly, his vision now benefits tens of thousands of patients each year that are treated with research findings and inventions developed at the very research enterprise he founded.

In memory of Dr. Kiesow, LRI will be initiating the Lutz A. Kiesow Outstanding Research and Service Award that will be the highest honor bestowed on an individual for outstanding achievement in support of the mission of the Legacy Research Institute.