Obituary Alexander Meisels, MD, FIAC(hon)

Dr. Alexander Meisels has died peacefully in September 2014 at the age of 88 years. His service to the International Academy of Cytology is legendary having been a member of the Executive Council of the IAC for 39 years. He served as Secretary-Treasurer from 1971 to 1986 and continued subsequently as President, Treasurer and Member till 2010. He was responsible as Secretary or President for six International Congresses of Cytology organized by the IAC (Miami 1974, Tokyo 1977, Munich 1980, Montreal 1983, Brussels 1986, Buenos Aires 1989).

His contributions to the field of cytopathology were decisive and manifold in all, research, teaching and administration. He himself considered his discovery of the relationship between the infection by human papillomavirus (HPV) and the development of cervical carcinoma his most significant contribution of which he was understandably proud of. In 1976 he postulated that the koilocytotic changes in cervical epithelial cells represent an expression of viral infection and the initial step of carcinogenesis (Acta Cytol 1976; 20: 505-509), a hypothesis which was then controversially debated and is now common knowledge.

Born in Berlin, he had to flee Germany with his parents and received his early schooling in Paris, France. He later attended the National University of Mexico, where he obtained in 1951 his B.Sc. and M.D. In 1960 he moved to Quebec, Canada where he worked until retirement at St. Sacrement Hospital and Laval University as Director of the Department of Pathology and the School of Cytotechnology. He educated numerous Cytotechnologists, residents of Pathology and foreign guests, who subsequently spread around the world. He was fluent in four languages and was an eloquent and gifted speaker, he was polyglott and travelled widely. He was particularly dedicated to the Spanish speaking world spreading the cytologic gospel widely in Latin America. He received numerous awards, among them the Goldblatt Award of the IAC (1975), the Papanicolaou Award of the ASC (1982) and the membership in the Order of Canada (2000).

All members of the Executive Council and the entire membership of the IAC pay tribute to this great man and express their feelings of loss and sadness. Alex will be sadly missed.

Alexander Meisels bids farewell to the Executive Council of the IAC in 2010 at the Edinburgh Congress after 39 years of service.

2010 IAC Executive Meeting

Thoughts received from IAC members
Cytology Russian Cancer Research Center of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
and the Russian Federation mourn the death of Dr. A.Meisels,M.D., FIAC and express condolences to the family.

Prof. V.Bogatyrev,M.D., MIAC

I am very sad with the news. Alex was a relevant help for Spanish cytology and a close friend. Please send my solidarity to his widow and children
Kind regards
Matias Jimenez-Ayala, Spain
I express my deep sadness for the passing away of Dr. Alexander Meisels. It has been a great honour for me to have this great man as teacher and friend.

Sonia Rossi, MD, PhD
Dipartimento Immagini e Medicina di Laboratorio
Anatomia,Istologia e Citologia patologica
Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Ferrara
Via Aldo Moro 8, 44124 Cona, Ferrara, Italia

Dear Colleagues and Friends of IAC

With sadness and unbelief I learned the passing of our beloved Alex. Professor Alexander Meisels was the Maestro, the intuitive and insightful Scientist, whose seminal researches have improved the lives of mankind. Too emphatic words? Perhaps, but it is the truth.

He came to Ferrara firstly in 2000 to be awarded with the HC in Medicine, from my Institution, at Ferrara University. Since then He came back many times to teach and to share their experience with us. Hundreds and hundreds of Italian Colleagues had the privilege to listen his seminal lectures in Ferrara. But I want to remember also the cheerful and ironic person, the generous and spontaneous friend.

His passing will leave a huge void.
Grazie Caro Alex!!!

Donatella Beccati
Former Director of Cytopathology
Sant'Anna University Hospital, Ferrara, Italy


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