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In Memorium: Lloyd Mayer, MDIt is with regret that the mucosal immunology community and its society lost a highly esteemed colleague with the passing of Lloyd Mayer, M.D., Head of the Division of Clinical Immunology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on September 5, 2013 at the age of 61. A remarkable man who we all simply knew as Lloyd due to his genuine, down-to-earth style, kindness and warmth will be remembered for his numerous and wide-ranging contributions. Lloyd was not only a great physician and scientist but also was consistently committed to selflessly serving our community at every level.
Lloyd graduated from Mount Sinai Medical School with high honors and received medical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at New York University and Mount Sinai Medical School and Immunology training with the late and highly renowned immunologist Dr. Henry Kunkel at Rockefeller University. Because of his interest in inflammatory bowel disease, he focused on T cell function and their control of B cells. Amongst his many major contributions was the discovery that the underlying defect in Hyper-IgM syndrome was not B cell intrinsic but rather due to an abnormality in T cells and provided some of the earliest studies which demonstrated that T cells secrete factors which help B cells undergo immunoglobulin class switching as well as B cell activation and proliferation.
At the remarkably early age of 33, Lloyd became the youngest division chief ever to be appointed at Mount Sinai and founded the newly established Division of Clinical Immunology. He was quickly escalated to Vice Chair of Medicine and later named the David and Dorothy Merksamer Professor of Medicine in 1994, followed three years later by being advanced to Professor of Immunobiology and Chair of the Immunobiology Center. Amazingly, Lloyd simultaneously served as Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology from 2003 to 2010, and in 2007 he became Professor and Co-Director of the Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai, which, together with Sergio Lira, he built into what is currently a world class scientific unit. As an immunologist and gastroenterologist, Lloyd's research advanced our understanding of both primary immunodeficiency diseases and inflammatory bowel disease. Among his many scientific accomplishments in mucosal immunology, he was the first to establish the intestinal epithelium as an important component of the mucosal immune system and pioneered the concept that this involved a critically important role in immune regulation and homeostasis; concepts that are now a driving force in inflammatory bowel disease research.
Lloyd was also a remarkable citizen by applying himself selflessly to numerous organizations. This included the Society of Mucosal Immunology where he was involved over many years in donating his own time in numerous activities that elevated our community to all of our benefit, for example, by fundraising and serving as the meeting organizer of the 5th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology held in Boston, 2005 which was one of our most highly remembered. In addition, Lloyd vigorously supported many other organizations such as the American Association of Immunologists, the American Gastroenterological Association and Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) where he held the highly esteemed position of Chairman of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the CCFA that set the scientific agenda in inflammatory bowel disease research. At CCFA as elsewhere in all of Lloyd's activities he was a passionate mentor who was described by the CCFA as a "dedicated and awe-inspiring teacher, mentor and colleague to IBD researchers worldwide and a staunch friend to all he knew" (http://www.ccfa.org/news/remembering-lloyd-mayer-md.html). To Lloyd who mentored numerous students and investigators internationally, he was enormously committed and treated them like his family.
Despite all of Lloyd's scientific, administrative and teaching accomplishments, it should not be forgotten that Lloyd was also a gifted and devoted physician who had a similarly profound impact on his patients. After Lloyd died, one of his patients mourned his loss: "He was a man of abundant spirit. He was generous and kind, but also had a wicked sense of humor. He kept me functional and encouraged me. He was my advocate. He was a patient, calm teacher who could explain the hard-to-grasp science behind the disease he treated me for. He shared his gummy bears with me. He told me stories. He calmed my fears, made me feel safe. He made me laugh. Whether it was because of his personality or some inner spirit, my visits to him were usually more than just "doctor visits." They were occasions. They were moments. Every once in a while I would try to find a doctor closer to home. I'd always go back to him, telling him that he set the bar too high. Lloyd Mayer was "my doctor" and always will be."
Dr. Lloyd Mayer was truly a legendary figure who despite all of his extraordinary accomplishments always remained humble and unassuming despite his great intellect. He was a person with a great wit and who was deeply devoted to his family. He will be sorely missed not only for all of his outstanding contributions and the way he made our community so much better but also as an irreplaceable friend to so many of us.
— Richard S. Blumberg, M.D
If you missed the member business meeting at ICMI 2013, the minutes are now available for viewing. Click here to see what you missed!
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