Professor Asim Kurjak was born in 1942 in Kotor-Varos, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He graduated MD in 1966 and obtained his PhD in 1977 at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia). He served as assistant professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Zagreb, from 1968 to 1980. In 1983 he rose to the present position of Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Department. He is also Head of the Ultrasonic Institute, Zagreb University School of Medicine, which is the WHO Collaborating Center for Diagnostic Ultrasound.
In 1971, as a British scholar he was research assistant for one year at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of London under Professor Stuart Campbell. Since 1973 Professor Kurjak has published extensively on various aspects of fetal and gynecological ultrasonography, from the early days of bistable static scanners, through to gray scale, real-time equipments, transvaginal scanners and dopper devices. His work encompassed fetal biometry, intrauterine growth retardation, placentography, prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies, fetal biopsy and surgical techniques, fetal monitoring, ovarian and fallopian tube imaging, (power) doppler ultrasound, 3-D sonography and indeed on many other topics in Obstetrics and Gynecology. His various pionnering work with the transvaginal scanner was particularly well-known.
Working with the first color doppler machine from Aloka®, Japan (SSD-880CW), Kurjak was considered as the first person to introduce color flow doppler to fetal assessment. In 1989 his team described transvaginal color doppler assessment of pelvic arteries. From about 1992, with his team of researchers including Sanja Kupesic, Kurjak started a a large series of projects on transvaginal doppler (color, later on power and 3-D) in early and late pregnancy, the placental circulation in normal and abnomal conditions and benign and malignant conditions in gynecology. In 1996 his team very importantly demonstrated arterial and venous blood flow signals from the intervillous space during the first trimester in normal and abnormal pregnancies which indicated a communicating link between embryonic and maternal circulations. It was previously thought that the link only existed after the twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Professor Kurjak has probably contributed most of his life-long career in the education of medical ultrasonography. In honor of his good friend and teacher Professor Ian Donald, he founded the Ian Donald Inter-University School of Medical Ultrasound in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 1981. Each year many celebrated students come through their advanced courses in medical ultrasonography. His unyielding enthusiasm to educate for the advancement of ultrasonography in Obstetrics and Gynecology has been met with worldwide appreciation.
Being one of the most influential and productive researchers in Europe, Professor Kurjak has published over 20 books and over 300 important scientific papers and is on the editorial Board of ten international scientific journals, including the Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He has been the recipient of many research grants from the Scientific Council of Croatia and has been the WHO co-ordinator for the use of ultrasound in developing countries. He is the Editor-in-chief of the highly authoritative book "A Textbook of Perinatal Medicine". He has also been the Editor of the popular "Progress in Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasonography" series dating back to the 1970s, when Professor Ian Donald was one of the earliest contributing authors. The latest edition of the series was on Doppler ultrasound in Gynaecology. His more recent books were on the subject of "Three-Dimensional Power Doppler in Obstetrics and Gynecology" and "Clinical applications of 3D sonography".
Professor Kurjak is President of the Croatian Academy of Medical Sciences, past president of the Yugoslav Society of University Professors, past President of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, past President of the international society “The Fetus as a Patient” and past secretary of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG). Together with Frank Chervenak he is also editor of the "Fetus as a patient" series of publications. His current research interests include color Doppler studies of fetoplacental and pelvic circulation, 3-D, transvaginal power doppler and 3-D power doppler studies of pelvic diseases and malignancies (tumor angiogenesis). Professor Kurjak is also a strong proponent of telemedical communications and its applications in ultrasound diagnosis.
Professor Kurjak is honorary member of the Ultrasonic Society of Australia, Italy, Egypt, Spain and Chile, and honorary Fellow of the AIUM. He was accepted as member of the European Academy of Science and Arts in 1998. Among numerous other awards, honorary doctorates, prizes and accolades dating from the 1980s, the European Congress for Prenatal Medicine awarded Professor Kurjak in 2000 the Maternity prize as the most productive prenatal obstetrician. Professor Kurjak is also hailed as the most productive medical scientist in Croatia and the most quoted Croatian scientist in the world.
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