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Branislav (“Brano”) Radovancevic, internationally known leader in transplantation research andfriend to so many of us at the Texas Heart Institute, died on 15 September 2007.
Brano was born in Ossijek, Croatia. He received his medical degree in 1978 after study in Belgrade, Serbia. In 1984, Brano came to Houston as a research fellow in Cardiopulmonary Transplantation at the Texas Heart Institute (THI). In 1991, he became the Associate Director of Transplant Research. This position allowed him to continue pursuing his chief interests: the study of immunosuppressive drugs and the development of mechanical devices to assist the failing heart. His position evolved, and, in 1998, he became Associate Director of Cardiovascular Surgical and Transplant Research. In 2005, he was named Director of the Center for Cardiac Support. Through his research work, Brano made important contributions to the field of advanced heart failure. His early research in cutting-edge therapies for combating organ rejection was recognized nationally and internationally, and he helped maintain THI's leadership role in cardiac transplantation.
Brano was highly respected by his colleagues worldwide. He frequently gave scientific presentations at conferences, and he wrote or contributed to nearly 300 publications. In addition to his many committee posts, he was an editorial board member of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Every year, Brano organized what became known among leaders in the field of heart transplantation as the “Rodeo Meeting.” He managed to lure these leaders to Houston for open round-table sessions, just with the promise of tickets to the world-famous Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Besides his professional accomplishments, Brano had warmth and humanity that were deeply felt by all who knew and worked with him. He was a friendly, unassuming individual whose goal in life was to help others—family, colleagues, friends, and patients. His sincere compassion and concern for the patients who suffer from end-stage heart failure and for their families was exemplary. I personally found not only his capabilities but also his moral support invaluable during the difficult, early days of the renewed transplant program at THI.
After learning that his able Lieutenant General “Stonewall” Jackson had lost his left arm, General Robert E. Lee said, “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm.” Brano was truly the right arm of so many of our endeavors. We will sorely miss his companionship and support, and his warm smile, contagious laugh, and jaunty steps in the halls of the Texas Heart Institute.