David C. Seldin: Brilliant Scientist, Compassionate Clinician and Gifted Teacher
With sadness we write to let you know that we have lost a distinguished professor, brilliant investigator, beloved physician, and beneficent leader. David C. Seldin, MD, PhD, director of the Amyloidosis Center at Boston University School of Medicine, died on June 27, of prostate cancer. He was 58.
David devoted his career to clinical and translational research in amyloidosis. He became Director of the Amyloidosis Center in 2007, and the Chief of Section of Hematology-Oncology in 2008. His research interests focused on cancer and blood disorders, particularly the light chain amyloidosis. His research was supported by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Avon Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Wildflower and Gruss Foundations, the Stewart Endowment Fund, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the Institute of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health through R01 and P01 awards.
David and his colleagues developed a publicly available database of amyloidogenic light chains and the first transgenic model of AL amyloidosis, used to test novel therapies. An active clinical investigator, he served as principal or co-investigator on trials of immunomodulatory drugs, proteasome inhibitors and anti-fibril antibodies for AL amyloidosis. He and his colleagues worked on refining techniques of autologous stem cell transplantation and developing therapies for other forms of amyloidosis. Of greatest impact on his academic career were collaborations with colleagues all over the world. In addition to his research activities, he devoted a large portion of his time training and mentoring generation of physicians and post-doctoral and pre-doctoral fellows in the conduct of clinical, laboratory and translational research. He enjoyed serving on innumerable thesis committees.
Among his many honors, David received the Wesley and Charlotte Skinner Professorship for Research in Amyloidosis in 2014. He was a member of a NIH study section and grant and program review panels for the United States, Canada, Greece, United Kingdom and Singapore. He was the first director of the graduate program in Molecular Medicine in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences, and established graduate courses in Cancer Biology and in Diseases of Protein Misfolding. He was recognized in a variety of “Best Doctors” lists. He served on the scientific advisory board of the Amyloidosis Foundation, the board of the International Society of Amyloidosis, and as an associate editor of Amyloid, Journal of Protein Folding Disorders.
During his too short time at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, David had an enormous impact, and the creation of a Boston University Center of Excellence, the Amyloidosis Center, ranks prominently within that impressive legacy. He was the preeminent physician and a tireless advocate to provide access to high quality health care for all.
David will be remembered as a beacon of hope for his patients, a source of inspiration and a role model for his trainees and with admiration by his colleagues. He will be remembered as one of the most respected researchers, and dedicated to his research – careful, thoughtful and incredibly creative. I, Vaishali Sanchorawala, describe him: “David Seldin – Where brilliance meets kindness.” His legacy is unique and he will be much missed by all who know him.
David is survived by his wife Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann, a specialist in infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital; his three daughters Stephanie, Maggie and Diana; his parents Florence and Ira Seldin of Chatham, Massachusetts; and his sister Judi Seldin of Needham, Massachusetts. A memorial service will be announced when plans are finalized.