Dear EFI members,
With sadness, we have to announce that the founder of EFI, Jon van Rood, has passed away on July 21. Since his finding in 1958 that pregnancy is able to induce leucocyte antibodies, he has made many important contributions to the field of histocompatibility and immunogenetics. He was the first using a computer to analyse a larger number of serological reactions in order to be able to detect some of the first HLA alleles like 4a and 4b, now called Bw4 and Bw6. He soon recognized the importance of HLA in transfusion and transplantation medicine. By founding the international organ exchange organization Eurotransplant, he has facilitated transplantation of many patients with organs from deceased donors. He was also involved in the first successful bone marrow transplantation in Europe. The foundation of Europdonor ( nowadays called Matchis) and Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) was crucial for many successful haematopoietic stem cell transplantation all over the world. He received many prestigious awards and 8 honorary doctorates. Also after his retirement in 1991, Jon remained involved in research in the field of histocompatibility. Especially the effect of pregnancy on the immune repertoire of mother and child was his favorite subject.
Many of us have heard him talking on the effect of the non-inherited maternal HLA antigens (NIMA) on the alloimmune response. In Jon we will miss an inspiring mentor and a very warm personality. Fortunately, he will be remembered by his many scientific achievements.
Frans Claas, PhD