Sir Professor Peter Lachmann
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
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!!
Uday Kishore, Oxford/London, UK
Wilhelm Schwaeble, Cambridge, UK
Mohamed R. Daha, Leiden, Netherlands
Kenneth B. M. Reid, Oxford, UK