Our dear friend and respected colleague Joachim Kettenbach is no longer with us. Joachim passed away on 24.03.2023 at the age of 63 after a brave battle against cancer.
Born in Zeltweg/Austria on 21.07.1960, Joachim graduated from the Medical University of Graz/Austria in 1985. After accomplishment of the obligatory clinical residence phase, he started a specialized training in Radiology at the Medical University of Vienna/Austria from 1991 to 1996. In a two-years research fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston/USA, he became intensively involved in the area of image guided therapies (IGT) and joined the pioneering development of MR guided LASER therapy. IGT remained in the focus of his professional interest during his entire career.
Based on his outstanding competence as a Senior Interventional Radiologist at the Medical University of Vienna (1998 – 2008) and combining it with his vital interest in engineering, he was always looking for possibilities to improve the execution of percutaneous interventional procedures. He also provided the impetus for the development of a dedicated interventional robot system in 2001, which a few years later entered the international market under the name iSYS1.
Between 2008 and 2017, Joachim extended his enormous knowledge in the area of percutaneous interventions as a Senior/Chief Physician in several hospitals, such as the District Hospital in Oberpullendorf/Austria, the University Hospital in Bern/Switzerland, and the University Hospital in Sankt Poelten/Austria. Starting in 2018, he was heading the Institute for Diagnostics, Interventional Radiology and Nuclear Medicine in the hospital of Wiener Neustadt/Austria.
Joachim was not only an excellent practitioner, but also a scientist through and through, as evidenced by numerous scientific publications, scientific awards and third-party funding. As a pioneer in interventional oncology including MR/CT-guided robot-assisted percutaneous interventions and for his dedicated work as an assessor expert within the framework of the Austrian Society for Interventional Radiology (ÖGIR) and for the European Board of Interventional Radiology (EBIR), he was awarded honorary membership of the ÖGIR in January 2023.
The “SMIT family” was particularly important to Joachim and he has outstandingly supported SMIT over the years as a speaker, session chairman, member of the International Steering Committee, and member of the MITAT Editorial Board. In 2008, Joachim became President of SMIT and welcomed the delegates to the 20th annual SMIT conference in his beloved hometown.
Joachim made an impact on many lives. His friends, co-workers and patients will all remember his kindness, compassion, wonderful sense of humor as well as his unique medical and scientific accomplishments. We will miss him dearly and know how much his loving wife Elisabeth and his two children will as well.
Rest in peace, Joachim!
Gernot Kronreif, iSMIT Co-President 2008
Andreas Melzer, iSMIT General Secretary
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