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Charles A. Janeway, Jr., 1943-2003

In Memoriam

Summary

Charles A. Janeway, HHMI investigator at Yale, is remembered.

Following is a letter to the HHMI community from Thomas R. Cech, President of HHMI.

To the HHMI Community:

It is with deep sadness that I write to you about the death of Charles A. Janeway, Jr., a longtime HHMI investigator at Yale University School of Medicine. Charlie died on April 12, 2003, after a long struggle with B-cell lymphoma. He was 60. Our thoughts are with his wife, Kim Bottomly, and their daughters, colleagues and friends at this difficult time.

Charlie came from a long line of physicians and teachers who were devoted to improving the health, well-being and knowledge of those around them. His great-grandfather was a New York City Health Commissioner, his grandfather a pathologist, and his father was the eminent chief of pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston.

In 1977, Charlie was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Yale. During the course of his prolific research career, he tackled many of immunology's “big questions.” He is widely recognized for his hypotheses regarding the existence of innate immunity - an evolutionarily ancient mechanism that the immune system uses to distinguish self from non-self. It is largely through his work that we know that innate immunity is actually a “first response” system that fends off invading microorganisms until the adaptive immune response is mobilized.

During his career as a scientist, teacher and mentor, Charlie received numerous honors and awards, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology. Despite his busy schedule, Charlie also managed to produce one of immunology's premier textbooks, Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease , which is now in its fifth edition.

Those who knew Charlie will always remember his generosity, his perseverance and his dedication to science and to his students. Perhaps it is appropriate to close with some advice from Charlie—which we would all do well to heed: “Be inspired by the knowledge that exists at the time you enter research, but be irreverent toward this knowledge…for this is the road to true understanding.”

Sincerely,

Tom Cech

For More Information

Jim Keeley
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