Professora Ruth Sontag Nussenzweig morre aos 89 anos, em Nova Iorque
Na noite desse domingo (01/04) a Professora Ruth, 89 anos, faleceu na cidade de Nova Iorque, onde residiu e trabalhou desde 1964. Nascida em Viena, Áustria, em 1939 aos11 anos veio para o Brasil com seus pais Eugeny e Baruch Sonntag (ambos médicos), fugindo da perseguição nazista. Fez o curso médico na Universidade de S. […]02/04/2018
Na noite desse domingo (01/04) a Professora Ruth, 89 anos, faleceu na cidade de Nova Iorque, onde residiu e trabalhou desde 1964. Nascida em Viena, Áustria, em 1939 aos11 anos veio para o Brasil com seus pais Eugeny e Baruch Sonntag (ambos médicos), fugindo da perseguição nazista.
Fez o curso médico na Universidade de S. Paulo (USP) onde conheceu Victor Nussezweig, paulista, também de origem judia polonesa, parceiro na ciência e na vida. Iniciando suas pesquisas no Departamento de Parasitologia, com Samuel B. Pessoa, publicando com Victor, ambos ainda alunos, vários trabalhos importantes sobre diagnostico parasitológico da doença de Chagas. Foi na NYU (Universidade de Nova Iorque, Departamento de Parasitologia e Medicina Preventiva da Escola de Medicina), que Ruth trabalhou e estabeleceu os fundamentos da vacina antimalárica induzida com esporozoítas (forma responsável pela malária no vertebrado) irradiados em animais.
Por décadas esse trabalho continua com pesquisadores de renome internacional, resultando na construção de uma vacina contra a doença humana, em fase de testes clínicos em países da África. Apesar de não impedir a doença, essa vacina já protegeu da morte milhares de crianças expostas a transmissão, tendo sido aprovada para uso humano em outros três países da África.
Ruth recebeu numerosos prêmios e distinções, medalhas, foi membro eleito da Academia Brasileira de Ciências e da American Academy for Sciences. Seu legado inclui ainda a formação de inúmeros pesquisadores que passaram na NYU, inclusive brasileiros, com os quais ela e Victor seguiram colaborando. Seu sonho era retornar ao Brasil… Com sua morte a vacina antimalárica e nós seus discípulos ficamos órfãos, eu profundamente agradecida e pesarosa.
Antoniana Ursine Krettli
Instituto René Rachou / IRR — A Fiocruz em Minas Gerais.
The Passing of Dr. Ruth Nussenzweig
We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of Ruth Nussenzweig, MD, PhD, research professor of pathology, and professor emerita of microbiology and pathology, on Sunday, April 1.
For decades, Ruth was devoted to scientific research that led to the prevention, cure, and treatment of human diseases. Working for NYU Langone’s malaria research program in the 1960s, Ruth and her husband, Dr. Victor Nussenzweig, made groundbreaking discoveries, paving the way for the development of a human malaria vaccine.
Ruth received her MD degree in 1953 and PhD degree in 1968 at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has been a faculty member of NYU School of Medicine since 1965 and during her tenure held key leadership positions, including head of the Division of Parasitology in the Department of Microbiology. She also served as the first chair of the Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, a position she held for nearly 20 years. Dr. Nussenzweig has the distinction of being the first woman to chair a department at NYU School of Medicine.
While still in medical school, Ruth and Victor focused on the insect-borne Chagas disease, and identified a blue dye that could inactivate the disease-causing organism in blood destined for transfusion. For this reason, up until recently, all transfused blood in Brazil was blue. Following this success, Ruth Nussenzweig then directed her energy to preventing the transmission of malaria, discovering in 1967 that irradiated malaria-causing sporozoites could be used to protect against the disease in animal models. Ruth then worked closely with her husband Victor, a professor of pathology at NYU, to make groundbreaking discoveries that paved the way for the development of the first human malaria vaccine, which was recently approved for use in Africa by the World Health Organization.
Ruth has served as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the World Health Organization, the Pew Foundation, and the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, among others. The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, she served on the editorial boards of prestigious journals, including Nature and Science. In 2006 she was elected to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies (formerly the Institute of Medicine), and in 2013 to the National Academy of Science.
Over the course of her career, Ruth was awarded many honors including the Erlich Prize from Germany, and the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal by the Sabin Vaccine Institute, both in recognition of her many contributions in the field of immunology and commitment to life-saving medical discoveries. She was also awarded the 2015 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize from Harvard, and in 2017 she received the Clara Southmayd Ludlow medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
As a world leader in the study of tropical and parasitic diseases, and mentor to countless colleagues and students, Dr. Ruth Nussenzweig has left an indelible mark on medical research. We are grateful for all she contributed to science and to our institution.
Our profound condolences go out to Victor; their sons, Andre and Michel; their daughter, Sonia; and their six grandchildren.
Robert I. Grossman, MD
Dean and CEO
Steven Abramson, MD
Vice Dean for Education, Faculty and Academic Affairs
Iannis Aifantis, PhD
Chair, Department of Pathology