Loma Linda University School of Medicine faculty complete Dr. Longo’s last book.

In 2013, Lawrence D. Longo, MD, founder and director emeritus of the Center for Perinatal Biology at Loma Linda University Health, published “The Rise of Fetal and Neonatal Physiology,” a featured publication of the 125thanniversary of the American Physiological Society. Longo labored to complete a second edition to offer researchers an expanded version, however, his faltering health left the revision unfinished. 

Loma Linda University professor Steven M. Yellon, PhD, was assisted by professor Michael A. Kirby, PhD, assistant professor Ciprian Gheorghe, MD, PhD, as well as associate professor, Ravi Goyal, MD, PhD, in addition to Justo Alonso, MD, on a year-long effort to complete “The Rise of Fetal and Neonatal Physiology: Second Edition.”

The second edition offers readers a comprehensive and expanded history of the field of fetal and neonatal development, pulling from early scientific discovery through present day. It makes connections between the first observations of fetal physiology and modern-day research questions and challenges. 

“He (Longo) used to say with better understanding comes better treatments and with better treatments comes better survival rates,” said Kirby, professor of basic sciences at LLU School of Medicine. 

Longo’s tenacious spirit drove him to start work on a second edition until his death in 2016. At the time, he transformed his hospital room into an office stacked with mountains of papers and reference materials.​

Longo’s thirst to understand was insatiable, said Yellon, who served as the book’s senior editor, and “he wanted to help others understand.” Even as an internationally recognized research scientist and founder of the National Institutes for Health Reproductive Scientist Development program, Longo felt he hadn’t done enough to help others and advance the field, Yellon said. 

Gheorghe, Longo’s last graduate student to work in his lab, watched Longo change his research interests and focus many times during the last decade of his career. Longo urged him to always be intellectually curious and to never be afraid of where the data was heading.

“He completely changed my specialty and interests,” said Gheorghe. “That was always his focus: Building people to succeed.” 


Due to the generosity of Longo’s children — Camilla Davis, Celeste de Tessan, Anthony Longo and Elisabeth Longo — all proceeds from the book will be donated to the American Physiological Society.