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February 2005

J. Wayne Streilein, MD (1935-2004)

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(2):289-290. doi:10.1001/archopht.123.2.289

On March 15, 2004, the world of ophthalmic and vision research lost a giant with the passing of J. Wayne Streilein, MD. Wayne served as president and CEO of Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI) and was the vice-chair of research in the Department of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology and dermatology at Harvard University at the time of his death. He leaves his beloved wife Joan, 3 children (Laura Streilein Berend and William W. and Robert D. Streilein), 11 grandchildren, and a brother, David Streilein.

Wayne Streilein was born on June 19, 1935, in Johnstown, Pa. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Gettysburg College, where he was voted outstanding alumnus. He completed his medical training in 1960 at the University of Pennsylvania and began his academic career as a member of the Department of Medical Genetics at the same institution. It was at the University of Pennsylvania that he would be profoundly influenced by the world-renowned immunologist Rupert Billingham, who introduced him to the phenomenon of immune privilege. In 1971, Wayne moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he began his groundbreaking research on ocular immune privilege. In 1984, he was appointed chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami. After 9 years of productive research at the University of Miami, he moved to Boston to become the director of research at SERI and professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. He was subsequently appointed president and CEO of SERI and was immersed in an ambitious and highly successful campaign to expand the research facilities at SERI at the time of his death.