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Ellinor Peerschke (1954-2023)

PEERSCHKE, ELLINOR IB, passed away on October 13, 2023.  Dr Peerschke served as Vice Chair for Research, Education and Development in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Service Chief of the Clinical Hematology and Coagulation Laboratory Services. She was a key member of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and was at the fulcrum of many of the hospital’s innovations.

Dr Peerschke began her career as a protégé of the late Marjorie Zucker, PhD.  She received her PhD in Pathology/Basic Sciences in 1980 and spent the summer as a Visiting Research Scientist at The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Her groundbreaking PhD thesis in platelet physiology provided the groundwork for many future scientific contributions.  In 1980, Barry Coller, MD, her longtime mentor and research collaborator, appointed her Head of Clinical Hematology Laboratories, University Hospital, SUNY at Stony Brook, a position which she held until 1996 when she joined Cornell Weill Medical Center as Professor of Pathology and Chief of the Clinical Hematology Laboratory Service. In 2007, she was recruited to Mount Sinai Medical Center as Professor of Pathology, Chief, Division of Translational and Applied Research and Director of the Hematology and Coagulation Laboratories where she stayed until 2011, at which time she joined  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as Vice Chair & Attending Pathologist, Department of Laboratory Medicine. In addition, she was the Director of the Laboratory Medicine Fellowship program for clinical pathology. Her influence on the education of clinical pathology students was profound.  She was a member of many professional and educational organizations, including President of Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists, Vice President of NASCOLA and Chair of Proficiency Testing, member of the Education Committee of the American Society of Hematology, member of the Thrombosis Study Group of the American Heart Association and a participant of the NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Program Project Research Review Committee, member of the International Advisory Board of the ISTH and other prestigious positions.  She was recognized and honored for her seminal contributions on numerous occasions over her distinguished 40-year career.

Dr. Ellinor Peerschke leaves behind an important legacy of innovative research in Hematology and Coagulation.   Her early research focused on understanding platelet-platelet interactions via platelet membrane glycoproteins IIb-IIIa, and she was the credited co-discoverer of the latter and their contributions to platelet aggregation.   She collaborated on the discovery of the anti-coagulant effects of aspirin.   In the latter part of her career, her research emphasis was on the biomarkers that predict arterial and venous thrombosis, and the interface between cancer and the coagulation system.  She also produced important immunologic studies in partnership with her husband, Dr. Berhane Ghebrehiwet.  She has more than 150 papers to her credit with her primary focus on platelet activation, complement and coagulation systems.  Her laboratory identified novel membrane receptors for the complement component C1q. She discovered the expression of gC1qR, a multifunctional cellular protein which interacts with components of complement, kinin, and coagulation cascades on platelets and vascular endothelial cells and characterized gC1qR interactions with S. aureus and gC1qR expression in cancer, as well as developing a commercial assay for measuring soluble gC1qR levels in plasma and body fluids.

Sir Professor Peter Lachmann (-2020)
Sir Professor Peter Lachmann passed away on December 26, 2020, after having enjoyed celebrating his 89th birthday and the Christmas days with his family.

He was very energetic till his very last days equipped with a brilliant and sharp mind until his final hour.  Sylvia, a perfect alter-ego partner and companion for Peter for so many decades, told us that he went to sleep contented and never woke up – a deserved peaceful end for a great mind!  He has shaped the complement field for many decades and was one of its titans – we have already missed him at the last complement conferences and we will certainly miss him now even more.  Sylvia also provided us with one of Peter’s favorite poems from Omar Khayyam and we also think that feels apposite:

With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,  and with my own hand labour'd it to grow:

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd -- "I came like Water and like Wind I go."


On behalf of The International Complement Society (ICS) and the European Complement Network (ECN)

Peter Garred, President of ICS

Reinhard Würzner, President of ECN

Prof Robert Sim (1951-2021)
The global Complement community mourns the passing of the legendary researcher from Oxford, Prof Robert Sim. Bob, as we all knew him, was battling cancer in the last 6-8 months. Bob was a towering figure in the field of complement and innate immunity. It is a big loss to the field, and with him, an era has come to an end.

Bob was born in Crieff, Scotland and carried out his schooling in Perth, Scotland. He earned his BSc Honours degree from the University of Edinburgh. Subsequently, he did his PhD at Oxford’s MRC Immunochemistry Unit under the supervision of Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Rodney Porter, and Prof. Kenneth Reid, FRS. Between 1976 and 1978, Bob went to Grenoble, France to carry out his post-doctoral research under Prof Maurice Colomb. After his return to the UK, Bob started working at the MRC Immunochemistry Unit, at Oxford University as Senior Scientific Staff and also as a University Research Lecturer, and continued until his retirement in 2008. Even after his retirement, he remained very engaged with research via his honorary association with Universities of Oxford, Leicester, Brunel and Kingston, UK. In 2017, Bob received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Republic of Uruguay, Montevideo.

Bob was a prolific scientist (‪Robert B Sim - ‪Google Scholar). His pioneering work included a number of breakthroughs related to: the activation of the C1 complex; proteins of the alternative and lectin pathways, C1q/collectin receptor, IgG glycosylation, complement-pathogen interaction, and regulation of complement and collectins in inflammatory diseases, to count few. His outstanding contributions to the complement research field were recognised, in 2013, by a lifetime achievement award from the European Complement Network (shown in photograph).  

Bob was a no-nonsense scientist, and sometimes ruthless professionally when it came to purity of ideas and creativity, and ethical standards. However, away from the lab in a non-formal setting, he was a very kind-hearted, affectionate, jovial and sometimes hilarious person. He mentored a very large number of students, as well as junior and senior investigators, many of whom continued to collaborate with Bob, long after they left Oxford. His legacy will live on in the safe hands of his mentees, friends and admirers.

Bob was extremely knowledgeable, modest with his vast repertoire of skills, and always willing to share his expertise. He was the living example of the Iranian Proverb- “Trees that bear many fruits hold their heads low”. He had such a lovely sense of humour and talking science with him was always constructive and opened the world for us who were fortunate enough to have known him.

Bob was a devoted family man. He leaves behind Edith (his wife of over 45 years), two children (Francis and Grace), and four wonderful grandchildren. Rest in Peace, Bob! We dearly miss you!!

Contributors:

Uday Kishore, Oxford/London, UK

Wilhelm Schwaeble, Cambridge, UK

Mohamed R. Daha, Leiden, Netherlands

Kenneth B. M. Reid, Oxford, UK

INTERNATIONAL cOMPLEMENT SOCIETY

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ICS promotes advances of complement research and development through the encouragement of cooperative educational programs, clinical applications, and professional standards in the complement field.
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