ECMO | Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation | ECLS

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (FELSO)

What is FELSO?

Induction into Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization is an honor bestowed on select physicians, nurses, perfusionists, therapists and researchers who have provided distinctive contributions to the global art and science of extracorporeal support delivery. Election to FELSO identifies global recognition of those who have advanced the field in diverse and lasting ways. The charter class of FELSO inductees was selected in 2015. Annually, a small number of awardees will be presented with the honor.

Qualifications for Fellowship:

  • Extraordinary, distinctive contributions to the art and science of extracorporeal support.
  • Examples:
    • Outstanding innovations in extracorporeal support
    • Significant research and/or device development
    • Extensive publication in the field
    • Distinctive leadership/public advocacy
    • Objective evidence of extraordinary compassionate care
  • Recommendation by other recognized leaders in extracorporeal support and by Fellows
  • Emphasis on diversity in:
    • Discipline
    • International representation

Nominations for Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (FELSO) 

The ELSO community can now make nominations for induction to FELSO, the honorary designation recognizing extraordinary contributions to the art and science of ECLS. Applications will receive consideration by the FELSO Nominations Committee. Please see the application below for more information. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

FELSO Nomination Form 2024 - Application period ends June 30, 2024.

For more information please email

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization


Inaugural Class-2015


Robert H. Bartlett MD

  • Dr. Robert H. Bartlett calls himself a retired surgeon and intensivist. To the world Dr. B. is the Father of ECMO and creator of ELSO. His exceptional vision, creativity, persistence and resilience has saved countless lives and continues to change the way we treat critically ill patients. He has undefinable energy. He continues to write grants for artificial organ development pushing the field continuously across all domains. He inspires us with historical perspective and humour. He is a colleague, an inventor, a renaissance man. Dr. B is our friend. We toast to Dr. Robert H. Bartlett, without whom none of us would be here today!

Konrad Falke MD

  • Intensivist
  • Established the first German ECMO center in Berlin in the 1970s

Luciano Gattinoni MD

  • Anesthesia/Intensivist
  • Conducted the first trials of extracorporeal CO2 removal and is the premier respiratory
  • Intensivist/physiologist in Europe

John Gibbon MD

  • Invented the heart/lung machine and cardiopulmonary bypass inspired by a patient who died of pulmonary embolism
  • The first CPB case was in 1953 in Philadelphia

Robert E. Gross MD

  • Pediatric Surgeon
  • Regarded as the father of pediatric surgery, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, and pediatric surgical research

J. Donald Hill MD

  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Studied ECMO in the laboratory and performed the first successful ECMO case in 1971

Theodor Ted Kolobow PhD

  • Experimental Surgeon
  • Career entirely at the NIH where he developed membrane oxygenators and prolonged extracorporeal circulation
  • Trained scores of clinicians who developed clinical ECMO

Pearl O'Rourke MD

  • Pediatric Intensivist
  • Performed the second prospective randomized trial of ECMO in newborn infants in 1987

Billie Short MD

  • Neonatologist
  • First neonatologist to fully develop an ECMO program based in neonatology
  • Drs. O’Rourke and Short established the first ECMO symposium in 1987, which continues to today

John Toomasian CCP

  • Perfusionist/Researcher
  • Working with Dr. Bartlett, has been involved with ECMO research since the mid 70s
  • Premier perfusionist in the development of ECMO

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Warwick Butt MD

  • Founder of Australian ECMO
  • Started ECMO program in Melbourne - 1980s

J. Devn Cornish MD

  • Charter ELSO Steering Committee Member
  • Innovator in VV ECMO and ECMO transport

Robin Chapman RN

  • First ECMO Coordinator at Ann Arbor
  • Developed the ECMO coordinator role

Jean-Yves Chevalier MD

  • Pediatric intensivist
  • Performed first ECMO in France

Richard Firmin MD

  • Developed ECMO in the United Kingdom
  • Authored 1996 ECMO RCT demonstrating benefit in neonates

Masahiro Nagaya MD

  • Pioneering pediatric surgeon in congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Performed first ECMO in Japan

Antonio Pesenti MD

  • ECMO surgeon, University of Milan
  • Partnered with Luciano Gattinoni to perform groundbreaking ECMO work with extracorporeal CO2 removal

Giles Peek MD

  • Pioneering ECMO surgeon
  • Authored the game-changing CESAR trial-advancing adult respiratory failure ECMO

Peter Rycus MPH

  • Executive Director of ELSO
  • Indispensable to ELSO

Charles Stolar MD

  • Pediatric surgeon
  • Founded influential ECMO program at Columbia Advanced care of CDH

Jay Zwischenberger MD

  • Prolific ECMO innovator and inventor
  • Invented the double lumen venous cannula, bicaval cannula
  • Chair, ELSO Steering Committee post-9/11

Warren Zapol MD

  • Authored the initial Adult ECMO RCT
  • Developer of inhaled nitric oxide
  • Prolific scientist-determined how marine mammals avoid hypoxia and the bends
  • Member, Institute of Medicine

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Steve Conrad MD

A pediatric and adult Intensivist from Shreveport, Louisiana, Steve was an early proponent of the centrifugal pump which has now become the standard ECMO platform as well as working on early forms of AVCO2R. He has served as ELSO registry committee and Steering Committee chair and been a teacher and evangelist for ECMO worldwide.  Steve led the transition of the ELSO registry from the original paper forms pioneered by Dr Bartlett to an electronic format using DBase and later a single, uniform Access relational database that would import Word forms, and finally then transformed it to the SQL Server database we know today. During Steve’s chairmanship ELSO became a true global organization as he travelled the world initiating the new regional chapters.


Heidi Dalton MD

  • Pediatric Intensivist and former ELSO Steering committee chair
  • ELSO conference chair for 6 years
  • Instrumental in shaping the “ELSO-experience” into the collegial and collaborative atmosphere which prevails at both the global and regional ELSO conferences to this day
  • Respected researcher in the wider field of pediatric critical care has been an essential bridge between ELSO and SCCM

Rodrigo Diaz MD

  • Cardiovascular Anesthesiologist in Santiago Chile, established the first Adult ECMO center in Latin America
  • Trained most of the Latin American centers, and helped establish ECMO programs on his continent
  • Major contributor to ELSO and to LAELSO

Bjorn Frencker MD

  • Pediatric surgeon, established the world-class ECMO program at Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden with colleague Palle Palmer
  • Has trained scores of surgeons and fellows
  • Active in ELSO and EuroElso
  • Hosted the second meeting of EuroELSO in 2013

Barb Haney RN

  • ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award
  • The COE award's globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center

Phoebe Hankins

  • Inaugural executive director of ELSO from 1989
  • Organized the original ECMO courses at Michigan, coordinated the communication, and helped establish ELSO in 1989
  • Guided ELSO back from the financial brink when the 2001 meeting was cancelled because of 9/11

Micheal Heard RN

  • ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award
  • The COE award's globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center

Tracy Morrison RN

  • ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award
  • The COE award's globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center

Andrezj (Andrew) Sosnowski MD

  • Cardiac surgeon established the legendary ECMO program at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK with Richard Firmin
  • Personally (and alone) conducted the first successful UK case actually done at Bristol Children’s Hospital over 100 miles from Leicester
  • Collaborator in both the classic neonatal trial and the CESAR adult trial

Palle Palmer MD

  • Pediatric Intensivist, established the ECMO program at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm Sweden with surgeon Bjorn Frenckner
  • Pioneer of awake ECMO
  • Pioneer of prolonged ECMO, “just take a coffee and wait for recovery”
  • Pioneer of mobile ECMO

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Alain Combes MD

  • Alain Combes was the lead investigator of the EOLIA study which has addressed some of the inherent methodological flaws of the CESAR trial. The ethically mandatory and compassionate use of cross-over to ECMO in the conventional ventilation control group lead to a survival advantage for patients treated with ECMO
  • Alain is the consummate modern cardiac “réanimateur” adept at juggling different devices for the benefit of his patients whilst also traveling the world to lecture, teach and collaborate in research. Alain was an inaugural member of the EuroELSO steering committee and currently serves as Chairman

James Fortenberry MD

  • James Fortenberry has been a longstanding and stalwart member of the ELSO community serving as at large and then as Chair of the ELSO Steering Committee
  • He is a leading member of the pediatric intensive care and ECMO community and is an active researcher, clinician, administrator and teacher

Roberto Lorusso MD

  • Roberto Lorusso is one of the leading adult cardiac surgical ECMOlogists leading the tsunami of current interest in ECMO
  • Always immaculate in both manner and dress he was the inaugural conference chair of EuroELSO and later served as Chair of the EuroELSO steering committee
  • The success of this first regional ELSO chapter is in no small part due to the efforts of Roberto Lorusso

Graeme MacLaren MD

  • Graeme MacLaren is the modern embodiment of the renaissance man, he is a skilled linguist, gourmet and connoisseur
  • In his spare time, he is a leading intensivist and ECMOlogist in Singapore and Australia
  • He has an uncanny ability to create collaborative working groups where others have been unable to find a harmonious path, this skill has led to many publications and his successful tenure as the inaugural chair of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of ELSO

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Dan Brodie

  • Dan Brodie is a leader and innovator in the field of ECMO. He is the Director of the Adult ECMO Program at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York
  • He is the Chair of the International ECMO Network (ECMONet) research group promoting collaborative international research in ECMO and is the PI or co-PI on numerous studies in ECMO
  • Dan is on the ELSO Board of Directors (Executive Committee) and is a long time member of the Steering Committee and a former Protocols Chair. He is currently the ELSO Chief Financial Officer overseeing the transformation of ELSO Inc’s finances

Tom Brogan

  • Tom Brogan was trained in PICU and ECMO by P Pearl O’Rourke, this left him remarkably unscathed but with excellent clinical skills as well as a strong ethical sense
  • He was appointed to the faculty at the University of Washington in 1994 and became ECMO Director at Seattle Children’s in 2001
  • He has been a long-time member of the ELSO steering committee and as communication chair oversaw the production of the fifth edition of the ELSO “Red Book” as well as the fourth edition of the ECMO Specialist Training Manual
  • He was a member of the local organizing committee for the ELSO annual conference when it came to Seattle in 2012. His research interest on ICU outcomes has led to many useful publications using the ELSO registry

James Connelly, RRT

  • Jim Connely and Don Granoski are the first RTs to receive the Fellowship, an award that acknowledges their personal achievements as well as the contribution made by a profession integral to the delivery of ECMO care
  • Jim just gets the job done and does those behind the scenes things that benefit everyone involved, especially the patient. He has been an active member of the ECMO Community since 1990 with the inception of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s ECMO Program
  • Jim was one of the first RT’s to become an ECMO specialist and was instrumental in building the ECMO program at CHOP becoming ECMO Center Manager in 2006. In this role, he has contributed to multiple research studies that have improved the care of children, grown the educational aspects of the program and promoted the capabilities and contributions of respiratory therapists to the field of ECMO
  • In addition to his day job he joined the ELSO Award of Excellence Committee in 2014 and has been integral to the increasing popularity and beneficial effect of the ELSO Center of Excellence award

Don Granoski, RRT

  • Don has been an ECMO specialist first in the NICU and later when the Edmonton programs amalgamated in the Pediatric and adults ICU’s at Stollery since the mid 1990’s
  • He has been coordinator for most of this century and as such has been leading the education of ECMO specialists both at home and abroad
  • In addition to being responsible for adult and pediatric cardiac and respiratory ECMO Don also manages the mobile ECMO team for western Canada as well as the provision of VAD therapy and renal replacement
  • Don’s unique ability as an ECMO educator has made significant impact to the ECMO and ELSO world over the last decade

Thomas Mueller

  • Thomas Mueller has been Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital of Regensburg, Germany, since 2002. He is one of the leading adult respiratory ECMO providers and researchers who has been instrumental in promoting the concept of ECLS as the standard of care to prevent ventilator induced lung injury rather than being a rescue therapy
  • One of the inaugural members of the EuroELSO steering committee and the organizer of the 4th EuroELSO congress in Regensburg where he not only delivered a fantastic scientific meeting but also initiated the “Art Meets ECMO” project

Ravi Thiagarajan

  • Ravi Thiagarajan has been a champion of ECMO at Boston Children’s Hospital since his fellowship there
  • As ELSO Registry Chair between 2010-2016 he has helped to improve the registry and been the foremost data-miner, demonstrating how useful the registry can be to clinicians and researchers alike
  • A review of PubMed reveals more than 100 publications related to ECMO, many of which have made use of the ELSO Registry data
  • He is one of the leading advocates for ECMO in the pediatric cardiac ICU and has been instrumental in making ECPR standard of care in the PCICU

Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Gail Annich

Dr. Gail Annich has been a tireless supporter of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and all things ECMO since she was a trainee. She has devoted her research career to the study of blood/biomaterial compatibility, anticoagulation and ECMO in children. She led the editorial team that produced the 4th Edition of the Red Book, and served on the editorial board of the 4th Edition of the ECMO Specialist Manual. She is the go-to person to speak on coagulation/anticoagulation/biomaterials. She has consistently worked to improve the use of ECMO in all patient populations. She has served on the ELSO Steering and has chaired the Communications Committee. Gail has been an indefatigable trainer of ECMO providers. Many of her fellows have become prominent in the ECMO/ELSO community.


Venkat Goyal

Dr. Venkat Goyal has been instrumental in the establishment of ECMO on the Indian Sub-continent. He embraced the global expansion of ELSO and was one of the major figures in both the ECMO Society of India and the South and West Asia Chapter of ELSO, SWACELSO. Without his leadership and vision ELSO would have faced significant challenges in the region. He has also been active in ECMO education co-authoring with Dr Pranay Oza the first textbook on ECMO in India, an authoritative two volume compendium. He has organized annual training courses for the last decade that have significantly added to the Indian ECMO workforce. He has written many scientific papers on both ECMO and cardiology and has lectured at numerous local and international meetings on Critical Care and ECMO.


Richard Martin

Mr. Richard (Dick) Martin is the first recipient of the Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization from the biomedical industry. He has been a key advocate for ECMO patients since his early days as a biomedical engineer working for Jostra, frustrated that the company did not see the commercial benefit in producing the neonatal double lumen cannula that was needed he started OriGen and produced them himself. OriGen was the sole global manufacturer of neonatal VVDL cannulae for over a decade, as well as other innovative products. In addition to this vital work Dick has also been an advocate of ELSO, providing sponsorship of countless meetings as well as supporting ECMOlogists around the world by hosting the ECLSnet in the pre-social media age. Dick has devoted a professional lifetime to supporting ELSO and ECMO and is a deserving recipient of the FELSO award.


Mark Ogino

Dr. Mark Ogino has been the driving force behind the evolution of ELSO as an educational institution. Although ELSO had already produced the Red Book and ECMO specialists training manual it was Mark who formalized and organized the ELSO sponsored courses at the time when they were needed. This inspiration has now blossomed into multi-platform educational activities around the world, bringing the ECMO-word to the populace. In addition to this Mark has been a clinical and research leader in the world of neonatology and ECMO. Last but not least, Mark has served our community as ELSO president during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the sternest test yet faced by ECMOlogists. The educational initiatives lead by Mark Ogino have been instrumental in training a large number of ECMO providers directly supporting the increasing use of this lifesaving technology.


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




W. Cory Ellis

As a long-standing member of the ELSO Center of Excellence Committee, Mr. Cory Ellis has contributed his expertise with a keen eye to the specific attributes and characteristics of aspiring ELSO centers for many years. He has travelled extensively to site visit many programs, who benefit from his years of extracorporeal experience. He has served the ELSO community by contributing significantly to the dissemination of many ELSO training programs. He is a humble and mild-mannered gentle giant, quietly working in the background, with the end result of his efforts being of top caliber whether it is with his perfusion practice in children, contributions to the ECMO program in Denver or his scholarly reviews for the literature.


John Fraser

As founder of the Covid Critical Care Consortium, Dr. John Fraser has mobilized a global collaboration of clinicians, scientists, government ministers and corporations in the fight against Covid-19. The keystone of this collaboration has been his encouragement of junior researchers and students. In addition, he has brokered the cooperation of many disparate groups for “The Common Good”. His thespian skills have been employed to great effect to enthuse the members of the consortium.

He has served the ELSO community as President of the Asia-Pacific chapter of ELSO, only the second Scotsman to hold this position. In the wider world of critical care research, he established the CCRG, Critical Care Research Group at the University of Queensland, one of only 6 Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Centers for Research Excellence. He has been Head of the Intensive Care Unit at the St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane for the last 10 years. He has published over 300 peer reviewed papers. He is working to produce a device to allow bystander administration of epinephrine during community cardiac arrest. He is fluent in both Glaswegian and English and is a gifted amateur association football player. 


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Alois Philipp

Mr. Alois Philipp, Chief Perfusionist at the University Hospital Regensburg since 1992, has been a driving force in the technical development of new extracorporeal life support devices, both pumped and pumpless. He was the first to use the now ubiquitous Cardiohelp system. He instigated the first mobile ECMO system in southern Germany as well as advocating for patients to be awake on ECMO. He also started a community OHCA service with ECMO implanted at the scene of collapse. This program was the first (and still is one of few) in Germany, which has cannulated more than 170 refractory cardiac arrests out of hospital with a survival of 30%. Alois developed one of the largest data bases on ECMO patients in the country which is in use now for more than 25 years including detailed information of more than 2700 patients. He is author and co-author of over 160 pub-med listed publications. He is defined by his zeal to educate and spread knowledge on ECMO. He has conducted numerous training sessions nationally and abroad and has greatly supported the initiation of ECMO in Czechia, Hungary, Russia, Belarus and China. In this way, he always was an ambassador for ELSO introducing our global society to Eastern Europe, stressing the importance of a global cooperation and world-wide help to improve care of critically ill patients on ECMO.


Leen Vercaemst

Ms. Leen Vercaemst has the distinction of being both a nurse and a perfusionist, and thus has many insights into the practice of ECLS that likely escape most doctors. She has served as a board member on the European Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion since 2014, has been the EuroELSO Perfusion Liaison since 2014, and has been a practicing perfusionist for over 30 years. She is also the first ‘non-MD’ editor of the Red Book and is a frequent expert speaker at international ECMO conferences where she always impresses with the lucidity and depths of her insights.


Ryan Barbaro

Dr. Ryan Barbaro has worked tirelessly to strengthen the ELSO Registry and hone it into a tool fit for the modern era. Under Ryan's leadership as Chair of the Registry Committee, ELSO was able to improve its organization and capacity to manage global access to data for researches, significant improvements in the quality of the data, and implemented a Quality Benchmark platform available to all centers contributing data. Ryan implemented data definitions for the Registry and improved data entry by implementing the data entry exam requirement. He has formalized the oversight and usage of the ELSO registry as a research resource, democratizing access to the data and bolstering one of the fundamental missions of the organization. During the pandemic, Ryan led the transition of the Registry to real-time data reporting, which was instrumental in improving access and usefulness of ECLS to patients globally. His seminal Lancet publications during the pandemic changed practice. Ryan continues to serve ELSO in leadership roles. 


Vincent Pellegrino

Dr. Vincent Pellegrino is a leading researcher in the field: He was an investigator in the EOLIA trial and chief investigator in a number of randomised controlled trials including BLENDER, REDEEM, HELP-ECMO and early mobilization during ECMO trials. He has bridged the gap from clinical innovation to pivotal changes in practice with the CHEER trial, the commencement of an ECPR program and subsequently CHEER3, using pre-hospital ECMO. In conjunction with ELSO he has also developed the RESP and SAVE scores. He has been a pivotal champion for ECMO education and his advocacy of the single caregiver model has increased ECMO capacity in a fundamental manner.


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization




Mela Bembea

Dr. Melania M. Bembea has made many important contributions to the field of ECMO through numerous peer-reviewed research manuscripts published in high-impact journals. She was first to describe wide variability in pediatric ECMO anticoagulation across ECMO centers world-wide. This manuscript has been pivotal in understanding various approaches to anticoagulation in the ECMO population and illustrated the crucial need for more research in the area. Her work combining data from American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines -Resuscitation and ELSO registries to describe risk factors for mortality in ECPR patients is an important contribution to understanding the impact of resuscitation prior to ECMO deployment on ECPR outcomes. Finally, her work with ELSO to standardize nomenclature for ECMO modes is another important contribution that has helped the ECMO community world-wide. Dr. Bembea has also made important teaching contributions pertaining to ECMO through didactic and simulation-based teaching, locally at her center, Johns Hopkins and at international conferences. She has contributed book chapters to many important textbooks including the ELSO Red Book.


Derek Best

Mr. Derek Best trained as a nurse in the United Kingdom before emigrating to Australia where, in collaboration with Warwick Butt, he has been an integral member of the ECMO program at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This was the first ECMO program in Australia and remains the highest volume neonatal and pediatric ECMO center in the region. Derek has served as the ECLS Coordinator for over 30 years. He became involved in the Asia-Pacific Chapter of ELSO as it was established, always an unshakeable, staunch advocate for the importance and unique role of nurses in the organization. More widely, he worked with ELSOEd to refine the teaching curriculum, drawing upon his experience over many decades of training nurses. During a career spanning over 35 years, Derek has taught hundreds of nurses how to do ECMO properly.


Mike McMullan

Dr. David Michael (Mike) McMullan has been an integral part of ELSO and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Mike has a long history of leadership roles in ELSO. Mike contributed to ELSO leadership starting as an at-large member of the Steering Committee to President. Mike was instrumental in expanding ELSO’s capacity as an organization, investing in resources, reporting, fiduciary, quality, and transparency advancements. His contributions to ELSO advanced the organization substantially. Mike has been actively involved in research, education, and the annual meeting. In addition to these achievements Mike has developed a realistic ECMO cannulation simulator which allows young surgeons to practice the surgical steps of the cannulation procedure before ever touching a patient.


Matt Paden

  • Dr. Matthew Paden is an expert ECMOlogist who has created pioneering extracorporeal devices and undertaken innovative research in ECMO care, changed the face of the ELSO registry, taught numerous fellows in ECLS delivery, and lead our field through its most difficult challenges of the pandemic as ELSO’s President. His work with Georgia Technological University includes advancements in delivery devices for CRRT unique to pediatrics and fostered multiple CRRT and ECMO collaboratives. Matt spearheaded many changes in the Registry that brought this into a more structured and functional database that is globally more accessible. Matt has mentored nearly 60 CCM fellows in ECMO training, where many have gone to ECMO Director roles at other institutions.
  • Finally, Dr. Paden assumed the role of President of ELSO in 2020. He was met with the challenge of managing the greatest pandemic of the last 100 years, helping ELSO quickly establish a registry, provide society-leading advice on management, device availability and helping ELSO quickly pivot to a virtual organization for activities and conferences. He will be recognized forever at the ELSO Pandemic President!