Philipp Bonhoeffer is a much noted and internationally active cardiac specialist, lecturer and surgeon. He was born and grew up in Germany, moved to Italy after his graduation and earned his degree in Medicine and Surgery at the "Università degli Studi" in Milan in 1989. In Pavia, he then specialised in cardiology. At the “Polyclinic San Donato” in Milan and at the clinic "Ospedali Riuniti" in Bergamo, he had his first contact with what was going to become his forte, the treatment of congenital cardiac disease in children.
Fresh out of training, he initiated a long-lasting co-operation with the U.S. Company NuMed and its chairman, Allen Tower. This is a relationship that has become extraordinarily productive. Tower was able to offer the facilities of his business to this talented newcomer and even let him manufacture trial models free of charge.
This ongoing research led to the development of an implantable cardiac valve that is put into place via a catheter, for patients in need of a new pulmonary valve. This was originally known as the "Bonhoeffer Valve", but was eventually introduced into the market by the company Medtronic under the name “Melody”. It is now used all over the world.
Philipp Bonhoeffer continued his research even after his move to Paris in 1994, at the "Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades". In 2001, he was appointed Director of the Catheterisation Laboratory at "Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children" in London. At this facility, he went on to reach the position of Chief of Cardiology, before he became Professor at the UCL Institute of Child Health, also in London.
Very early, Philipp Bonhoeffer devoted himself to improve the often dire health situation in developing countries. In 1992, one of his most noted Italian mentors, Professor Parenzan, asked him to help in the development of heart surgical healthcare in Kenya. During this time, Philipp Bonhoeffer was able to create an efficient and affordable catheter for the therapy of mitral stenosis, a disease that is widespread in poor countries.
Over the years, Philipp Bonhoeffer has worked with a number of recognised organisations, including “Chaine de l’espoir” (Paris), “Institut du Coeur” (Saigon, Vietnam), “Chain of Hope” (London), “Terre des Hommes” (Nairobi), “Children’s Heart Link” (Minneapolis) and the “Medtronic foundation” (Minneapolis).
In 2002, he became director of the World Laboratory project. He also developed specific affordable technology for cardiac catheterisation in association with the company NuMed (Hopkinton, New York), which is now used in many countries around the world. In addition, he has lectured extensively about the progress of such cardiac programmes within developing countries.
In 2004, Philipp Bonhoeffer conducted the first mitral valve dilatation in Kenya on a human patient, together with a team of Kenyan doctors. This led to great recognition, including the presentation of the “Grand Scientific Prize Foundation of Lefoulon-Delalande” from the “Institut de France”, together with Professor Francis Fontan.
Professor Bonhoeffer has written or participated in more than 170 scientific articles, books and other publications, most of which centre around the problems associated with cardiac valve intervention.
Since his childhood, Philipp Bonhoeffer has played the violin and viola, and has even delved into violin building with great passion. In fact, together with master violin-makers, technicians and engineers, he is involved in several projects that revolve around the study of the composite materials and the sound of particular violins.