Sixty six years of surfactant research

Joanna Floros, Anne M. Karinch, David S. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In November 1995, a floating congress organized by Drs. B. Lachmann and L.M.G. van Golde was held on the River Danube. The purpose of this congress was to promote cross-fertilization of ideas among investigators involved in various aspects of surfactant research. The beginning of surfactant research is marked by Kurt von Neergaard's work in 1929, which suggested that surface tension plays an important role in lung expansion. However, rigorous study of surfactant, the substance that modulates surface tension in the lung, started in the 1950's with the work of several investigators, including Dr. Clements. The clinical correlation of lack of surfactant with hyaline membrane disease in the prematurely born infant was also described in the 1950's by Dr. Avery. Today, we know that surfactant is essential for normal lung function and that surfactant, or its components, are dynamic in nature and complex. Complexity has been observed at structural, functional, molecular, and genetic levels. Although the prematurely born infant has been the centerpiece of surfactant research for the past several decades, recently considerable interest has arisen regarding the role of surfactant in acute respiratory distress in humans of all ages. The topics covered were diverse, ranging from whole animal experimentation to molecular and genetic levels, including work both in basic and clinical science, and clinical trials. Two awards for outstanding poster presentations by a young investigator were given. The basic science award went to Dr. C. Casals for her work on SP-A self-aggregation and structure. The clinical award went to Dr. P.A. Dargeville for addressing the problem of identifying a useful surfactant sampling technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 25 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sixty six years of surfactant research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this