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A Tribute

Alan E. Beer

A Tribute to Dr Alan E. Beer

By Rudi, Ansbacher MD, MS
Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Michigan Medical Center Ann Arbor, MI.

Alan E. Beer, MD, a physician/scientist, passed away at the age of 69 on May 1, 2006. Born and raised in Indiana, he received his MD in 1962 from Indiana School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, followed by a fellowship in Immunology and Genetics, at the University of Pennsylvania, becoming board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1971.

Dr Beer joined the faculty in the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, where his seminal work on the immunological aspects of parturition in the mouse model was conducted. In 1979 he became Chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

In 1985 he received a joint appointment as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Chicago Medical School, where he headed the Reproductive Immunology Program. The Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology and Genetics was established in 2003, with clinics in Los Gatos, California and London, UK.

From 1976 to 1997 he was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Reproductive Immunology and Gentries. He served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology and Microbiology from 1984 until his death. He authored numerous scientific publications, monographs and several books.

Dr Beer dedicated his life to analyzing the impact of the immune system on human reproduction, with a special focus on problems in establishing and maintaining a pregnancy. He was a basic scientist who established an international reputation and was sought after as a speaker for symposia throughout the world. His enthusiasm in depicting maternal fetal/placental interactions carried over into his presentations, and his far-reaching innovative theories captivated audiences.

He was a futurist and innovative, entertaining new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment for recurrent (repetitive) pregnancy losses. He was a proponent of translational research, transforming outcomes from his basic science research to the clinical arena. Often his thoughts appeared to be 10-15 years ahead of his peers.

Dr Beer was one of the founders of the American Society for the Immunology of Reproduction in 1981. He served as a Councilor from 1981 to 1984 and became its third President from 1984 to 1985. He devoted himself for the development of the society's membership and encouraged many young scientists and researchers to study reproductive immunology. He was an ambitious and inspirational mentor. He guided many physicians and scientist through their graduate and postdoctoral studies.

A family-oriented father, he leaves his devoted wife Dorothy and four children, Mike a financial advisor in Indiana. Betsy, a mother of five in Baltimore, Margaret, an emergency room nurse in San Francisco, and Laura, a web management specialist in Atlanta.

It was most appropriate to establish the Alan Beer Memorial Symposium as the opening session of the '26th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Immunology', on June 15, 2006, in Nashville, TN, USA.