Faces and stories of the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences: Luca Gabutti

Professor Luca Gabutti
Professor Luca Gabutti

Institutional Communication Service

27 July 2020

Our journey of discovery of some of the professors, lecturers and researchers who will welcome the students of the USI Master of Medicine continues with professor Luca Gabutti, internist and nephrologist and Head of internal medicine at the Ospedale Regionale Bellinzona e Valli. We explore with him the stages of his professional career, sharing some memories of his life as a medical student and visiting a few places in the Canton Ticino.  

Luca Gabutti graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Lausanne in 1990. He then obtained his doctorate in 1996 at the University of Bern and then the FMH degrees in internal medicine in 1997 and nephrology in 1999. In 2006, he earned the title of Privatdozent (PD) and in 2012 that of professor at the University of Lausanne. His career then unfolds between Bern, Lausanne and Ticino.

Prof. Gabutti's academic career brings back many memories, starting from when he was a medical student, a period during which the solidarity between students and lecturers was strong and marked with the desire to work and have fun together. An anecdote that he remembers with a smile takes us through the forests of the French-speaking regions of Switzerland: "During a weekend winter hike, with a group of friends we got lost in a forest near Montreux and only managed to return in the middle of the night and with our clothes soaking wet. Preparing a spaghetti dinner together, with our clothes spinning in the dryer and laughing at our scary adventure was one of the best moments of my life," said Gabutti. The specialisation in nephrology, which is related to kidney diseases, came to Prof. Gabutti by chance: "I became passionate about it - he explains - discovering that the hemodialysis department, besides being a small community of patients with almost monastic rules, is also an extraordinary laboratory. It was wonderful, during the first years, to build clinical studies, chatting with patients and collecting their suggestions".

Teaching is also part of his professional career, with teaching activities involving medical students from the University of Lausanne, students from the cantonal school of nurses and the medical-technical school, assistant doctors and medical candidates from the hospital's medical department and, finally, from September, also USI students. Even today, after 30 years of experience in the hospital, when he shares a clinical activity with students or assistant doctors, Gabutti still feels he has the same need and the same desire to learn as he did during his clinical days in Lausanne. "Sharing a l learning moment - continues Gabutti - is an opportunity to experience, together with students and medical assistants, the relationship with the patient and relatives, the clinical mindset, one's own difficulties and how to deal with them. Making patients perceive one's commitment and determination, building a feeling of trust, is essential, as one sets oneself as a point of reference for everything related to health".

Luca Gabutti is particularly attached to the Malcantone region, where he lives in a stone house dating back to the end of the 19th century. He loves nature and in his spare time takes care of a beehive. For students who know little about Ticino, he suggests itineraries for all types of hikers, from woods to alpine lakes: for those who want to get to know the area without much effort, he recommends the Sentiero delle meraviglie ('Wonderland Trail') between Novaggio and Aranno. For those who want to invest more energy, he recommends the Greina plateau, a hike of about seven hours between the Luzzone dam and the Pian Gierètt, in the Blenio valley region. Finally, for those who have less time available, a round trip by cable car from Rodi, in the Leventina valley, with a visit to the Tremorgio lake.

In addition to the natural wonders of the area, close to urban centres, and optimal connections with cities such as Milan and Zurich, for Prof. Gabutti the added value that medical students at USI can draw from Ticino resides in the local hospital network and in the enthusiasm that has been placed in this innovative university project. "The network of hospitals is an added value that the students will experience during the two clinical days per week of the Master's programme: they will have the opportunity to continuously test and deepen their knowledge and skills in the presence of patients. Also, the presence on the region of several research institutes offer a complete immersion in basic research to interested students," he concludes.