Last week, we lost a friend, colleague and source of perpetual inspiration in a tragic and untimely accident. While he leaves behind friends and family who will miss and mourn him, the passing of HighRes’s founder and Chief Technology Officer Lou Guarracina is also a substantial loss for life science research more generally, where his contribution and impact have been so substantial, it is difficult to begin to quantify.
Lou was a visionary, and an unparalleled innovator. His concepts around modularity and mobility in laboratory automation architecture fundamentally changed the way automation could be done. Today, if you look across the life science research landscape, you can see his fingerprints everywhere – even in systems and installations HighRes had no direct involvement in crafting. He was a man who predicted the future with bold confidence, defied all logic and invented things people said were impossible. He pushed each and everyone one of us to be the best we could be and do things we thought were not possible, and as a result made immeasurable contributions to the research industry, and thus indirectly, the improvement of human health.
We received many, many expressions of condolences, and reflections on Lou’s contributions, but thought we would share just a few below.
“He was an incredibly innovative scientist and always a pleasure to work with and spend time with. There is little that can be said other than he leaves a strong legacy which will continue to improve the working lives of so many scientists across the world and of course, ultimately will help in our mission of delivering novel medicines to patients.”
“Lou made a huge impact in our field—the kind of impact most of us can only dream of making professionally—and his tragic death is a loss for us as his friends and colleagues and for the greater lab automation community.”
“Lou was a visionary in the Lab Automation industry. The company that he built has a solid reputation which is in large measure due to Lou’s dedication to creating innovative solutions to his customer’s needs. Lou has had a significant positive impact on the industry over many years and will be missed. We know that his legacy will live on in the company that he built, the enhanced productivity of the research labs that he has automated and the customers who have worked with him and the entire HRB team as collaborators and partners, not just a vendor. “
Lou’s extreme dedication to the development of novel technologies and solutions was matched with an equal dedication to his family and friends. You could hear it in how he talked about his wife and sons on a day in and day out basis. He was someone who would selflessly drop everything for a friend in need, willing to do whatever was necessary to support those close to him.
He was also fun, and funny. His zealous drive for technological advancement was offset by a strong sense of humor, love of pranks, and willingness to be part of the joke himself. He was generous, always seeking the opportunity to take customers out to dinner or out fishing whenever he had the chance.
Lou will be missed by family, friends and co-workers. HighRes would not exist today without his vision, persistence and hard work. But more importantly, his contributions to all of life science research will be sorely missed, even by those who do not even realize they tie back to him. He was one of a kind – a creator, entrepreneur, motivator, friend, father and fisherman. Rest in peace.