The foundation is inspired by and dedicated to the memory of Prof. Louis Avioli, who was a great academic as well as being a humane individual. Louis Avioli was an illustrious American scientist born in 1931 to a family of Italian emigrates in the United States. He dedicated his life to developing a modern approach to the study of osteoporosis and metabolic skeletal diseases.
After graduating in 1953 with a first class degree at Princeton University and in 1957 in Medicine at Yale University, Prof. Louis Avioli then continued his studies at ‘Chapel Hill’ in North Carolina and at the National Institute of Health, before beginning work in 1961 at the medical faculty of New Jersey College.
In the 1960s the majority of researchers considered weak bones to be simply an inevitable consequence of the ageing process, concerning above all post-menopausal women.
However for Prof. Avioli this explanation was not sufficient: being a very inquisitive person he was the first to study the reasons why bones became thinner, and began to ask himself if there was a way to prevent the osteoporosis process and the all too frequent consequential painful fractures. At a time when no one discussed osteoporosis as a health and social problem Prof.Louis Avoli through his hard work and research managed to discover the cause and develop treatments which are still widely used today for the cure of the loss of bone mass in post-menopausal women and the elderly.
His scientific discoveries have increased awareness of the disease and led to greater possibilities in treatment. His research highlighted the role that vitamin D plays in the regulation of calcium metabolism, the structure and function of bone cells and the communication system between cells. Those who knew him speak of him as a pioneer who made headway in research, a teacher who was able to give clear and simple explanations even when talking about complex processes. He was a mentor who transmitted great enthusiasm to his students and a highly capable medic.
He was tireless both in his work and research: in 1979 he founded the American society of bone and mineral research which still today represents the biggest and most prestigious scientific society which acts as a reference point for scientists, researchers and students from all over the world. In 1994 he set up The Association of Osteobiology; he wrote and co-edited more than 300 articles for medicine, endocrinology and scientific publications; he contributed to the drafts of over 100 books; he was twice nominated as being amongst the best 120 medics in the USA; he wrote articles for some of the most prestigious medical journals ( the Journal of the American Association, The American Journal of medicine, The Archives of Internal Medicine) and he was the chief editor of ” Calcified Tissue International” from 1979 until his death.
Prof: Louis Aviolo also collaborated with the NASA Skylab project, the Endocrine society council and the Foundation for Paget Disease: he was also a consultant for the national health service in China, Finland, Australia and Canada.
With his work, Prof. Louis Avioli created a network between clinics, molecolare biology laboratories and researchers, he also helped set up the first American department of bone disease at Washington University.
However Prof.Avioli did not limit himself to furthering his knowledge and treatment of osteoporosis: he was also in the forefront of prevention. Founding the first ever prevention program for osteoporosis in the United States.
As a recognition of the value of his research, he was presented with numerous prestigious awards: The Andre Lichtwitz International Prize, The William F. Neunam award, The Robert H Williams distinguished Leadership Award from the United States Society of Endocrinology, The Peter H. Raven Lifetime achievement Award from The St. Louis Science Academy, and in 1993 The St.Louis Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus nominated him as one of the ” Good Guys”, in virtue of the contribution he had made towards women’s health.
However for Prof. Avioli the highest recognition of his work came from elsewhere: through his numerous travels he frequently donated books to encourage dialogue and research. Teaching and passing on his knowledge to others was the activity that made him most proud.
He said ” I have trained 115 colleagues -and this I consider to be the most successful thing I have done in my life.”