Dr. Laufer, Radiology

Dr. Igor Laufer, professor of radiology, died September 14, 2010 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He was 66.

Born in what is now Slovakia, Dr. Laufer earned his MD from the University of Toronto in 1967.

Prior to coming to Penn, he was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1969-1972, and then was assistant resident and chief resident at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He served as an assistant professor of radiology at McMaster University in Toronto from 1974-76.

In 1976, he joined the faculty at Penn Medicine and quickly rose to the rank of full professor after only four years with the department. He was the chief of gastrointestinal radiology at HUP from 1976-1997, residency training director for the radiology department from 1993-2000 and its residency selection director from 1999-2004. Dr. Laufer was known for pioneering the techniques for performing state-of-the-art double contrast GI radiology, and developing and refining double contrast studies for both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts. His work generated a resurgence of barium studies and a new era of double GI radiology.

He described findings for various inflammatory and neoplastic conditions and early GI cancers on barium studies. His seminal contributions had a profound influence on patient care, leading to earlier detection and treatment of everything from herpes esophagitis and inflammatory bowel disease to benign and malignant GI tumors.

He is the author of the classic text, "Double Contrast Radiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract", which was published in 1979. He lectured widely and was an invited lecturer or visiting professor more than 400 times, including 16 named honorary lectures. He was the president of the Society of the Gastrointestinal Radiologists from 1984-86, and was recognized by the society for his life’s work in 1991, when he was the recipient of its highest honor, the Walter B. Cannon Medal, for outstanding lifetime achievements in GI radiology. He won the Outstanding Educator Award from the Philadelphia Roentgen Ray Society in 2005. Dr. Laufer is survived by his wife, Bernice; a son, Jacob; daughter, Miriam, and a grandson. Contributions in his memory may be made out to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Igor Laufer Fund, care of Bill Kirschner, HUP; One Silverstein, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283.