Lorenzo Berra, M.D.

Reginald Jenney Associate Professor of Anaesthesia
Harvard Medical School
Physician Investigator (Cl)
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Mass General Research Institute
Medical Director, Respiratory Care
Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Anesthetist
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
MD University of Milan 1999
MD Universita Degli Studi Di Milano 1999
acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; airway inflammation; critical care; mechanical ventilation; nitric oxide; pneumonia; ventilation; ventilator-associated pneumonia

Our research group focuses on translating highly innovative laboratory research to large animal research and first in-human research to improve diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of critically ill patients. Our most recent efforts are focused to:

  • Assess NO gas therapy to prevent organ (kidney, lung, heart and brain) injury mediated by ischemia and by cell-free heme as it occurs following cardiac arrest, cardiac surgery, blood transfusions or hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier
  • Evaluate feasibility, safety and efficacy of prolonged (and home) delivery of continuous, low dose of NO gas therapy to patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension
  • Test safety and efficacy of in-hospital short and repeated sessions of high dose treatments with NO gas breathing in severe lung infection
  • Improve cardio-pulmonary mechanical support in patients with cardio-pulmonary failure by integration of novel bedside cardio-pulmonary monitoring (e.g., electrical impedance tomography, lung-heart ultrasound) with physiological data (e.g., regional ventilation, V/Q perfusion, pleural pressure)
  • Emerging approaches in the prevention of Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia.
  • Characteristics of the inflmmatory response of patients undergoing surgical procedures.
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

Description of Research

In my early research career I worked at the National Institutes of Health, under the supervision of my mentor Dr. Theodor Kolobow (2000-2005). We developed several new methods and medical devices to avoid aspiration and ventilator associated pneumonia: such as novel rotating beds, care of intubated patients, novel endotracheal tube designs, new methods of ventilation, and novel approach to prevent bacterial colonization of the respiratory tract. In animal models we experimented and successfully showed feasibility and efficacy of those methods.

In order to test these hypotheses and other novel approaches to improve respiratory care in critically ill patients with acute lung injury, with the late Dr. Robert Kacmarek and I established a Respiratory and Critical Care Research Team in the department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Mass General. Under the mentorship and collaborative work with Dr. Warren Zapol (2005-2021), I also expanded my studies on biology and biochemestry of inhaled nitric oxide and the role of transfusion and hemolysis on hemodynamics, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and organ dysfunction.

Publications Clinical Profile

Thier Building
60 Blossom Street
Boston, MA 02114