巨人的腳步-追思兩位時代巨人

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News Released on 20111024 

2011 年十月第一周,我們同時失去了兩位徹底改變各自領域的巨人,分別是蘋果的創辦人賈伯斯 (Steve Jobs) ,和今年諾貝爾醫學獎得主史坦曼 (Ralph Steinman)。而這兩位偉人所行所為,對本公司董事長王長怡博士有非常深遠的影響,她寫下了對他們的感念與追思。

First Week of October 2011

Two very untimely deaths which took place in the first week of October, 2011, had a profound impact on me: Steve Jobs, founder and leader of APPLE and Ralph Steinman, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Medicine. Both were men who revolutionized their respective fields.

I vividly remember the day in 1981 when during his nationwide simulcast speech to the US Congress, President Ronald Reagan used Steve Jobs as an example in calling upon all young people in the US to follow in Jobs’ footsteps as an entrepreneur. He went on to explain that Steve Jobs built a company named APPLE in his parents’ garage which, in turn, helped to build a country with renewed vigor. I felt as if President Reagan were calling to my heart. Thus, the beginnings, in my thoughts, of United Biomedical, Inc. The first week of October, 2011 brought it all rushing back to me thirty years later.

Ralph Steinman was my teacher at the Rockefeller University in my first year class [1973/4] of Cellular Immunology, the same one which led me into the field of immunology. Through the four-hour weekly seminar discussions and plenty of readings, mostly J. Exp Med articles before and after the classes, the emerging field of immunology was beginning to unravel the complexity of T cells, B cells, macrophages, soluble factors, and these newly identified star like and rare ”dendritic” cells in the generation of immune responses. Ralph also co-hosted our fancy candle light dinners/ journal club for the first year graduate students on the 17th floor of the Tower building. There was a great deal of learning together, provoking independent thoughts, judgments, cross field interactions, and frequent utterances of crazy ideas.

At the time of my joining the graduate school, Ralph was already an assistant professor who had the most direct interactions with students. I was a fan of immunology with a strong chemistry background and wanted to use my background to do something important in the field of immunology, the secret weapon of medicine. Ralph, along with Henry G. Kunkel, Robert J. Winchester, Bruce A. Cunningham, Gerald M. Edelman, Bruce W. Erickson, R. Bruce Merrifield, Robert A Good, Lloyd J. Old and Shu Man Fu have all been instrumental in my scientific pursuits in the ensuing decades. Ralph was instrumental to bring me to the world of the immune cells at the cellular level. His scholarly demeanor has influenced many students. I was most happy to see him endowed as the Henry G. Kunkel Professor at the University. Henry was my thesis advisor and a pioneer in human immunology who had set a great tradition in the field of clinical immunology. My association with his laboratory, and the influence of Ralph and many mentioned above, has given me the confidence to invent, explore, and test in translational biomedical research to bring the link between basic discoveries and practical applications using bioinformatics and design tools for a generation of efficacious designer peptides. Such applications include immunodiagnostics, vaccines and immunotherapies. I owe a lot of my interest in cellular immunology to Ralph. The seminars he gave and the discussions we had were so challenging and intriguing. They set the foundation for the rest of my life; a wonderful experience for me to have spent those early days in his presence.

Ralph graduated from Harvard Medical School, finished all his clinical training, and joined Rockefeller University in 1968. He was an EM specialist watching and observing cells from sections taken from various tissues. He became a Professor at Rockefeller University in 1988, thus spending 43 years at the campus. He was the type of professor you would constantly look for, a fixture on campus, when you went back to school. The announcement of his receiving the Noble Prize for medicine for his discovery of dendritic cells was made on Monday, October 3rd; several hours later, the announcement of his death from pancreatic cancer on Friday, September 30th was also made.

As to Steve Jobs, the news came right after the release of the Iphone4S, a disappointment, they said, to the many who awaited Apple’s newest product. The next day, the announcement came, Steve Jobs, the founder and leader of Apple had died of pancreatic cancer, the same cancer which robbed Ralph Steinman’s life a few days earlier. Steve Jobs was a true entrepreneur and innovator, moving forward bit by bit, not a giant step initially, but cumulatively, he changed the world in which we live. When I first heard him utter the phrase “Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish” at the end of his speech at Stanford University’s 2005 Convocation, I was almost in tears, as I was that hungry and foolish person trying to change the world with a humble designer peptide based immunological application which has taken my lifetime effort to perfect.

20111024

本篇發表於 佳文共賞, 王長怡博士演講。將永久鏈結加入書籤。

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