Remembering Dr. George Stamatoyannopoulos

July 25, 2018

Scientist and physician George Stamatoyannopoulos, M.D., Dr. Sci, who conceptualized and helped create the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy in 1996, died June 16, 2018. To those who knew Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos, he was a friend, mentor, leader, and brilliant scientist.

Read the rememberance for Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos
as published in the August 2018 issue of Molecular Therapy

Stamatoyannopoulos was born in Athens on March 11, 1934. Despite many difficulties in his childhood caused by regional turmoil and the separation of his family, he completed a classical education by studying science at night. He completed medical school in Athens, graduating top of his class. He then acquired an MA in Clinical Therapeutics from the same school and the National Research Foundation, and received a doctorate from the Medical School, in 1960.

ASGCT was established in 1996 by Stamatoyannopoulos, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington's School of Medicine, and a group of the country's leading researchers in gene therapy. Stamatoyannopoulos felt there was a need for a professional society specifically devoted to gene therapy. We have his foresight to thank for the ever-growing field gene and cell therapy has become. Stamatoyannopoulos became ASGCT’s first president, holding that term until 1998. In 1999, the Society honored him by creating an annual lecture in his name. He was instrumental in founding ASGCT as well as helping the society and the field through more difficult years.

Stamatoyannopoulos made lasting contributions in both research and in the creation of a Society, now with nearly 3,000 members, which continues to connect individuals involved in gene and cell therapy research.

In 2017, Stamatoyannopoulos was awarded the Sonia Skarlatos, Ph.D., Public Service Award. His research work spans a variety of areas of human genetics and genetic hematology, including population genetics, impact of genetic counseling, the structure and function of hemoglobinopathies, the genetics of thalassemia syndromes, and the analysis of the molecular and cellular control of globin gene switching.

He served on more than a dozen editorial boards while authoring more than 420 scientific papers and 14 books. His latest research focused on the development of gene therapy for hemoglobinopathies and other disorders that can be cured by gene transfer into stem cells. His interest in population genetics included the genetics of the Bronze Age population of the Minoans and the Mycenaeans and the genetics of the populations of Greece and the Balkan Peninsula.

Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos will be missed by his friends and colleagues.

ASGCT Policy Summit
November 4 – 6 | Washington D.C.