The Starr Team, circa 1960

Dr. StarrOn September 17, 2012, OHSU made history with the announcement of Phil and Penny Knight's $125 million gift, establishing a new, multidisciplinary cardiovascular research institute at OHSU. Albert Starr, M.D., who will lead the institute with Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., reflected "We know from personal experience that the most meaningful innovations happen when clinicians and researchers work together across disciplines to solve big problems."

Collaborative teams have a way of making history at OHSU. In 1960, Dr. Starr led a diverse team of professionals in surgery, nursing, and medical technology to a milestone in cardiovascular research. Front and center in this photograph is "Blacky" the dog, a research animal whom the surgical team implanted with a prototype artificial heart valve. Not only did Blacky become the first long-term survivor of mitral valve replacement, the lucky Labrador went home with a member of the team as a pet. Photographed with Blacky are Dr. Alfred Lui, Dr. Fernando Leon, Dr. Albert Starr, Dr. David Blumen, Mary Ellen O'Reilly, Betty Stephens, Dr. Colin McCord, Dr. Gary Wiss, and Otto Hinz. Not shown is M. Lowell Edwards, an engineer and inventor with no previous background in medical research. Edwards collaborated with Starr through the valve's many prototyping iterations, and then worked with machinists and technicians to put the final version into production.

Photo: Albert Starr's research team (1958)

Contributed by Maija Anderson, archivist, OHSU Historical Collections & Archives