Contact: Alexander Shtifman
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Leaders of HMS and Children’s Hospital Boston, Jeffrey Flier and James Mandell, respectively, introduced the Nov. 17 celebration of the Fred S. Rosen Professorship in Pediatrics at HMS, the Immune Disease Institute, and Children’s. Both commented on the foundational support that the chair provides, strengthening collaboration between the institutions.

Mandell pointed to Rosen’s investigation of primary immune deficiencies in children and his major discoveries, particularly the pioneering development of intravenous gamma globulin therapy. Rosen, who died in 2005, was a longtime faculty member at Children’s, who later assumed the presidency of the Center for Blood Research, which was renamed the Immune Disease Institute.

Fred Alt, scientific director of IDI, described Rosen as “the quintessential translational researcher” and said Rosen’s devotion to excellence was reflected in the selection of Klaus Rajewsky as the chair’s first incumbent. Tim Springer, the Latham Family professor of pathology at HMS, elaborated on Rosen’s dogged pursuit of excellence, crediting him as the one who “wrote the dictionary of immunology.”

Present at the program, which took place in the Jeffrey Modell Immunology Center at HMS, were Fred and Vicki Modell, parents of Jeffrey, who died of a primary immune deficiency at age 15. In remarks at the event, Vicki Modell lauded Fred Rosen as a teacher and healer; an adviser, mentor, and friend; and devoted physician to their son. She also addressed Rajewsky and, quoting The Little Prince, sketched a landscape of stars as beacons, connecting and guiding a community dedicated to exploring the frontiers of molecular immunology.

Preceding Rajewsky at the microphone, Raif Geha, the James L. Gamble professor of pediatrics at HMS and Children’s, said, “Whatever you say about Fred, you can never do him justice,” and he added that “Fred would be so happy to know that this day has come.”

The celebration concluded with Rajewsky’s expression of profound thanks at being the first Rosen professor. Referring to Rosen, he said “his loss still weighs heavily on me.” But he said the colleagues he has are an enormous inspiration to him. “The new lab here at the IDI has become a little universe in itself,” he said. He is shown above (left) with Dean Flier.