I communicate with great sadness that Prof. Gabriella Morreale de Escobar passed away in Madrid on December 4, 2017, at the age of 87 years. Born in Milan, her family moved to Malaga after a few years in Vienna and Baltimore. She graduated and obtained the Doctor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Granada. Using an extremely laborious method for iodine measurement she showed a correlation between iodine content in water and urine and the incidence of goiter in the “Alpujarras” a mountainous region near Granada. This was the start of a brilliant and influential scientific career together with her husband Prof. Francisco Escobar del Rey, who died in December 2015. They spent a postdoctoral stay in Leiden, with Professor A. Querido, performing early studies on thyroid hormone metabolism and returned to Madrid in 1958 as a staff of the High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). In 1974 they moved to the Medical School of the Autonomous University of Madrid where they were co-founders of the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas.
Gabriella made unique contributions to thyroid pathophysiology. Among them, she developed the concept that individual tissues control the amounts of T3 needed by regulating the local T4 to T3 conversion. She demonstrated that there is a transfer of thyroid hormones from mother to fetus from early gestational stages, and called the attention to the importance of maternal T4 in fetal brain development. In Spain, she initiated the screening program for congenital hypothyroidism and was instrumental in the introduction of iodized salt.
She was very active and influential in Spanish and international scientific societies. She was one of the founders of the European Thyroid Association, in 1967, and President from 1978 to 1980. Among her many prizes and recognitions, she received the European Thyroid Association Prize in 1985 and the Serge Lissitzky Career Award in 2009. She was also an honorary member of the ETA. Several generations of scientists initiated their research in her laboratory. Gabriella was active many years after her official retirement and was a continuing source of inspiration.
Gabriella was not only an important and excellent leader in the field of thyroid research but also a very warm and wonderful person with an open and friendly character towards everybody. The thyroid community has expressed its condolences to an extraordinary scientist with a generous and exceptional personality. She will be missed at meetings in Europe and throughout the world; nevertheless she has left a privileged legacy to all of us who have learned with her and most important her spirit will always remain. We also share the sorrow with her son, Dr. Hector Escobar-Morreale and her two grandchildren Inés y Francisco and will remember her always for her extraordinary scientific career and her wonderful personality.
President of the ETA
In Memory of Jean Robbins
It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the passing of Mrs. Jean Robbins in March 2017, widow of Professor Jack Robbins at home at Applewood in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was a lovely person, and a faithful companion of her beloved husband for many decades. Following the passing of Jack Robbins in 2008, she and her family sponsored an ETA Award in 2012, “The Jack Robbins Prize” for the best presentation (either oral or poster) in the field of thyroid hormone transport and is presented each year at the Annual Meeting.
Jean is survived by her daughter Alice Robbins, her son Mark Robbins and by her 4 grandchildren.
The ETA expresses sincere condolences to her family. She will be sadly missed by all who have known her.
President of the ETA
In Memory of Shigenobu Nagataki
The ETA is deeply saddened to hear that Prof. Shigenobu Nagataki, an honorary member of the ETA, passed away on 12th November, aged 84. He was a prominent researcher in the thyroid field contributing with excellent works to our knowledge of the physiopathology of thyroid gland. He participated regularly in our congress discussing and presenting data, a man who surely will be greatly missed everyone who knew him. Our condolences go to his family and our thoughts are with them.
The ETA is shocked and deeply saddened to report that on June 20, 2016 Dr. Peter Laurberg, aged only 71, died following a car accident in Tbilisi, Georgia as he was walking with his wife, Grete, who survives the accident. Dr. Peter Laurberg was a leader in the field of thyroidology and past-President of our association. Peter was well known and respected for his tremendous achievement in the thyroid field. He became a member in 1978 and has been dedicated to many activities within the ETA – he was also a member of the Local Organizing Committee at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Copenhagen. Peter was always a prominent actor in any ETA annual meeting and was appreciated by all of us not only for his scientific contribution but also for his personality and humanity. Our condolences and sense of solidarity goes first of all to his wife Grete and his son. Peter was a wonderful man and we will miss him dearly.