Jerome S. Brody, MD
Our Pulmonary Center community is heartbroken by the loss of Jerry Brody, who passed away peacefully on January 22, 2023, at his home in Boston while surrounded by family, after a brave battle against Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88 years old.
Jerry meant so much to us here at BU and in the Pulmonary Center. He came to BU in 1973, recruited to be Chief of Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep & Critical Care Medicine from 1973-86. He was the the first Vice Chair for Research in our Department of Medicine, from 1993-2001. He was the longest serving Director of the Pulmonary Center, from 1986-2009.
Jerry was a visionary. Jerry was fascinated by lung growth and development, and his early discoveries were foundational for the field of lung regenerative medicine. He loved cell biology and provided groundbreaking insights into how cells worked together to make a healthy lung. His studies of cigarette smoking helped define molecular features underpinning lung cancer and COPD.
Jerry was a connector and a builder. In 1975, Jerry teamed up with Gordon Snider and Carl Franzblau to create the Biology of the Lung: A Multidisciplinary Program T32 training program. Now funded by the NHLBI for 50 years, we continue to train lung scientists along the lines that Jerry initially outlined. Jerry led the committee that pushed the ATS to launch a new journal for lung cell science in 1989, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, with Jerry as well as Bob Senior and our own Mary Williams as its first editors. Ever since, this has been the top journal in this field. In 2007, Jerry and Avi Spira co-founded the company Allegro Diagnostics, to realize clinical utility for their discoveries. Because of this, today’s physicians can use Percepta for the detection of lung cancer.
Jerry and his impact will never be forgotten. In tribute to Jerry, the Pulmonary Center partners with the Section of Computational Biomedicine to host an annual Jerome S. Brody, MD, Lectureship. In 2021, the School created an endowed professorship to honor Jerry forever; Jay Mizgerd is the inaugural Jerome S. Brody, MD, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine. In many ways, Jerry is responsible for what the Pulmonary Center is today. Jerry’s vision steers us. Jerry’s spirit is with us. We look forward to celebrating Jerry Brody’s life and legacy together, later this year.