Monto Ho, Brilliant Infectious Disease Physician and Pitt Leader Dies

Yesterday, I wrote about the pioneering work Dr. Thomas Starzl has done in Pittsburgh to build it into a world reknown transplant center. Another individual who was instrumental in that development, was Dr. Monto Ho. Dr. Ho was the chief of the infectious diseases and chief of microbiology (among other titles) at Pitt and a contemporary of Dr. Starzl. Dr. Starzl's request of Dr. Ho for infectious disease physicians dedicated to transplant patients led to the birth of the field of transplantation infectious diseases. 

On December 16, 2013, Dr. Ho died.

The import this brilliant physician-scientist had on the field of infectious disease is hard to fathom. Dr. Ho's work spanned decades and involved the early identification of interferon, delineating the role of CMV in organ transplantation, as well as early work on HIV (among many other things).

After retirement, Dr. Ho took on the beast of antimicrobial resistance in Taiwan with great success. He also found time to investigate a dangerous new epidemic of EV71. The span of his career and the infectious disease problems he tackled was the subject of an entire day symposium in 2006 which I attended as a resident.  At that symposium, it was announced that Pittsburgh City Councilman (and now Mayor-elect) Peduto proclaimed it "Dr. Monto Ho Day" in Pittsburgh. 

Several years ago I met Dr. Ho at a reception for another living legend--Dr. DA Henderson, the man who eradicated smallpox from the planet--and told Dr. Ho that I was then a fellow in the department he led.  He was gracious and I was honored to meet him.

His autobiography is a great overview of his brilliant career and is, in many ways, inspirational and emblematic of Pittsburgh.