Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2001
Back Issues
Time to replace New Cabell Hall, Board of Visitors says
Sen. Emily Couric — a friend of the University, an advocate for education
Berne's discovery improved lives of heart patients

Holiday sharing drive

Center pursues multidisciplinary approach to global health issues
Future doctors to get sex education
Faculty Actions -- from the October BOV meeting
Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
African-American Affairs celebrates
Hot Links -- lists of books that shed light on terror attacks
Inaugural symposium to look at the American college
Attention: book lovers
Campaign helps employees make a difference
U.Va. hosts nanotech workshop
Research awards to be showcased

Dr. Robert M. Berne Berne's discovery improved lives of heart patients

When Robert M. Berne first published his hypothesis in 1963 that the chemical adenosine was an important regulator of coronary blood flow, others in the medical community were skeptical. By the time he succumbed to lung cancer at 83 earlier this month at home in Charlottesville, he had developed the most successful patent the University has ever had and his work on adenosine was widely accepted.

Adenosine now is recognized as a molecule that has wide-ranging biological importance, including regulation of cardiac blood flow and heart rhythms, as well as regulation of brain and kidney functions.

Berne and research fellow Luiz Bellardinelli developed and patented the medical use of adenosine as Adenocard, to treat cardiac arrhythmias. Under Berne’s leadership, major portions of the royalties from this patent were returned to the University and used to establish and endow the Cardiovascular Research Center and the Robert M. Berne chair in cardiovascular research.

For his work on the functions of adenosine, Berne received the American Heart Association’s 1979 Research Achievement Award and Merit Award and the 1985 Gold Heart Award. He was elected to the Institsute of Medicine in 1979, the National Academy of Sciences in 1988 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

An alumnus of the University of North Carolina, Berne received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital of New York. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1944 to 1946. Berne joined the faculty of U.Va. in 1966 as the Charles Slaughter Professor of Physiology, following 17 years of teaching at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Berne authored more than 200 scientific papers and co-authored several books, including The Handbook of Physiology, Cardiovascular Physiology, Principles of Physiology and Regulation of Coronary Blood Flow. The textbooks remain some of the most widely used in the area.

Berne is survived by his wife of 57 years, Beth Goldberg; a sister, Peggy Leavitt of Los Angeles, Calif.; four children and their spouses, Julie and Phil Speasmaker, Amy and Steve Kaminshine, Gordon and Rosalyn Berne, and Michael and Mary Berne; and seven grandchildren, Maggie, Molly and Chris Speasmaker, Sarah and Alex Kaminshine, and Ari and Kyle Berne.


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