George R. Seage III, professor of epidemiology, passed away on January 2, 2021, at 63. He was a leader in the field of HIV research and was particularly well known for his work on behavioral aspects of HIV transmission and for investigating effects of antiretroviral therapy on the long-term health of children with perinatal HIV infection. With over 200 publications in major scientific journals, he made immense contributions to the understanding of HIV transmission, prevention, and disease consequences, translating the science into sound public health policy at the federal, state, and local levels.
Seage joined the Harvard Chan faculty as associate professor in 1999 and was promoted to professor in 2012. He was known as a dedicated mentor who took great joy in nurturing the next generation of infectious disease epidemiologists.
In an announcement to the community, Dean Michelle Williams said, “George leaves a remarkable legacy not just in infectious disease epidemiology, but also in the great love he shared with his family and the indelible imprint he left on so many dear friends and colleagues.” Read more
James “Jay” Mitchell, adjunct professor of molecular metabolism and a former full professor, died unexpectedly at age 49 near his home in Switzerland on November 17, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and their sons, Darius, Ian, and Lucas. Robert Farese, chair of the Department of Molecular Metabolism, said “Jay was a cherished colleague, mentor, and friend to many in the department and the School.” He added that Mitchell was “infectiously engaging and kind, and a true scholar who was very highly respected by his peer scientists in his field.”
Mitchell joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 2019 as a professor of healthy aging. His research focused on nutritional, genetic, and molecular mechanisms of adaptive stress resistance. Specifically, he studied the mechanisms underlying the benefits of dietary restrictions, aiming to translate this research to address a wide range of clinical problems associated with aging. He received multiple awards for his research contributions, including the School’s Armen H. Tashjian Jr. Award for Excellence in Endocrine Research. Read more
Adetokunbo O. Lucas, SM ’64, known as one of the world’s leading tropical disease experts of his generation, passed away peacefully on December 25, 2020, at his home in Ibadan, Nigeria. Appointed professor of international health at Harvard Chan in 1990 and, since 1995, an adjunct professor, Lucas had a distinguished career as a clinician, medical educator, researcher, and public health leader.
In 1976, Lucas became director of the World Health Organization’s Tropical Diseases Research Program. Under his 10-year leadership, the program collaborated with academic institutions and drug companies on the development of new products to fight leprosy, onchocerciasis (river blindness), African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and other tropical diseases.
Lucas is remembered as a humanitarian, and as a friend and mentor to many. Former Dean Harvey Fineberg said, “His unfailing good humor, sense of perspective, and wisdom gave him a remarkable combination of altruism, pragmatism, and idealism.” Read more