David L. Rimoin MD, PhD, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute, 1936 – 2012

Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:10 am

Newswise LOS ANGELES (MAY 28, 2012) David L. Rimoin, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute, a pioneer in research in skeletal disorders and abnormalities who played a pivotal role in developing mass screenings for Tay-Sachs and other heritable disorders, died early Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 75.

Rimoin, Cedars-Sinais Steven Spielberg Family Chair in Pediatrics, died after a diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in early May.

Beloved throughout the academic medical world as a mentor who demonstrated model dedication, compassion, kindness, humor and personal balance to colleagues and dozens and dozens of physicians and scientists, many of whom would become leaders in the field, Rimoin was just the second member of his extended family to go to college.

He became a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Master in the American College of Physicians and an Honorary Life member of Little People of America. From 1979 to 1983, Rimoin served as founding president of the American Board of Medical Genetics, formed to improve the standards of care in the area of medical genetics.

Rimoin, a longtime Beverly Hills resident who was a devoted husband and father, is survived by his wife, Ann, and three children. While his funeral will be closed, planning is under way for a public memorial.

David Rimoin was a magnificent scientist and physician whose contributions were global in scale, said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai. The arrival of David and his team in 1986 represented an essential element of the foundation on which Cedars-Sinais academic mission has grown and flourished over the years. His kindness and his grace were without equal."

Working with Michael M. Kaback, MD, Rimoin played a fundamental role in developing mass screenings for Tay-Sachs, a rare and fatal genetic disorder that affected the Ashkenazi Jewish population in the United States and Israel. The Tay-Sachs testings were the first large-scale genetic screening and have virtually eliminated the disease.

We have lost a giant in medicine, said Lawrence B. Platt, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Directors. For those of us who had the great fortune of having David in our lives, we have lost a cherished friend. David touched the lives of so many people in such significant ways that his passing leaves a void that will never be filled."

For 18 years prior to founding the Medical Genetics Institute in 2004, Rimoin served as chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Pediatrics. Before joining Cedars-Sinai in 1986, Rimoin served as chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He also was director of the Genetics Clinic at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Rimoins primary research focused on medical genetics, specifically short stature and skeletal dysplasias a group of disorders associated with abnormalities in the size and shape of the limbs, torso and skull as well as heritable disorders of connective tissue. He founded and directed the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry, the largest such registry in the world and wrote a primary textbook, Emery and Rimoins Principles and Practices of Medical Genetics, now in its sixth edition.

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David L. Rimoin MD, PhD, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute, 1936 - 2012

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