In Memoriam: Gérard Siest (1936–2016)

Mario Plebanihttp://orcid.org/0000-0002-0270-1711 1  and Heike Jahnke 2
  • 1 CCLM Editor-in-Chief, Dipartimento Medicina di Laboratorio Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova, Universita di Padova, Via Nicolo Giustiniani 2, Padova 35128, Italy, E-mail: mario.plebani@unipd.it
  • 2 CCLM Journal Manager
Mario PlebaniORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0270-1711 and Heike Jahnke

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On April 9th, the entire world of laboratory medicine lost a dominant figure, a pioneer, and an innovator in the field. Gérard Siest died just before his 80th birthday in an unexpected and unpredictable manner.

Many of us recently met him in Madrid at the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) General Conference. He was smiling and bright as usual, with many projects to pursue and a passionate vision of future developments in several areas of our discipline, namely pharmacogenomics. As usual, he defended his projects and vision with humor and power.

Only once in every one or two generations does a brilliant mind emerge with all the talent, vision, and personal characteristics capable of influencing the entire field of laboratory medicine. Gérard Siest was one of those few people. This journal was so fortunate to take huge profit from his role of editor-in-chief for many years (from 1998 to 2008). Notably, he was also forerunner in changing the name of the journal by adding the concept of “laboratory medicine”, thus interpreting and supporting the development of our profession and discipline around the globe. He also established a profitable collaboration between CCLM’s publisher, De Gruyter, and the IFCC. This was due to the formidable impulse given to the IFCC, with him serving as president between 1991 and 1996. During those years, he established the technical secretariat, located in his hometown Nancy, re-organized the structure by creating the Education and Management Division and the Congresses and Conference Divisions, finalized the agreements with FESSC, COLABIOCLI, and APFCB, established the link with IRMM for reference materials, and paved the way for modifying the name of the federation by adding the term “laboratory medicine”.

Gérard was emeritus professor of molecular biology and biochemical pharmacology at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the former director of the postgraduate course in biochemical pharmacology at the University Henri Poincaré in Nancy. During his brilliant academic carrier, he became the founder and head of the clinical laboratory and research group of the Centre de Médecine Preventive in Nancy for 37 years (1968–2005).

Gérard was called “the man with eternal smile” – to highlight a trait of his character – so dynamic, full of energies, but always open for discussions and sharing visions and projects with many other scientists. Gérard was also an extremely hardworking scientist – an author of more than 800 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books. His work has been honored with 27 prestigious awards from the most important international scientific organizations and from 16 different countries. In addition to his work with CCLM, his editorial activities encompass a range of other important appointments, such as editor-in-chief of Drug Metabolism and Personalized Therapy (2010–2015) and member of the Editorial Boards of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease (since 2004), Pharmacogenomics (since 2005), Personalized Medicine (since 2005), Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine: Advance and Applications (since 2010), and the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology (since 2012). After his retirement, he focused on the development of the European Society of Pharmacogenomics and Personalised Therapy (ESPT), which he founded in 2011 as president and the continuous organization of the Santorini Biologie Prospective Colloquia, which he founded in 2002. I would like to remember his terrific strength and joy of living: in Santorini, after a full day of lectures and work, he spent the night dancing with his wife Sophie and friends in their beautiful house.

We have lost a clever and talented colleague and mentor and an exceptional scientist who promoted the development of laboratory medicine in new areas and innovative fields. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know him well, and be influenced by his enthusiasm and professionalism, will celebrate him for contributing so much to the luster of our discipline and the joy of our world.

We will miss Gérard, his tireless enthusiasm, visionary leadership, and friendship, but we will always honor his memory by assuring the continuity of his work for the journal, for IFCC (and EFLM) and for the entire field of laboratory medicine.

We share the deep sorrow with his family, his many friends, and colleagues and send our sincere condolences to Sophie and his entire family.

Mario Plebani

CCLM Editor-in-Chief, Dipartimento Medicina di Laboratorio Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova, Universita di Padova, Via Nicolo Giustiniani 2, Padova 35128, Italy, E-mail: mario.plebani@unipd.it. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0270-1711

Heike Jahnke

CCLM Journal Manager

for all CCLM Editors

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