The Department of Medicine laments the untimely retirement, due to illness, of Ronald L. Nagel, MD, just over two years ago from his position as the Chief of the Division of Hematology.
Image: Ronald L. Nagel, MD
At last week's Medicine Grand Rounds, Mary Fabry, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology) and long-time collaborator with Dr. Nagel, presented this warm tribute:
Ronald L. Nagel was born in Chile in 1936 to a mother proud of her Spanish and Araucanian Indian heritage. His father emigrated from Bratislava ahead of the holocaust that took his eldest brother. On arriving in Chile his father joined the family antique business that is still active in Chile and Florida. His mother was classically trained as an artist and exhibited her oil paintings in Chile before becoming a cultural attache for Chile first in New York where the young Ron unhappily attended a strict Catholic school, and then in Mexico where he met and was greatly impressed with Bernard Baruch and the Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pable Neruda.
Dr. Nagel attended medical school in Chile, graduated in 1960 and did three years of post-graduate training both as a resident in the Faculty of Medicine and as a student in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Chile. During that period of time he published a number of papers including two letters to Nature that touched on population studies that would form a part of his later career. He came to the United States as a NIH International Post-Doctoral fellow where he joined the laboratory of Helen Ranney with whom he first published a number of papers on hemoglobin-haptoglobin interactions and then began to work with Helen and Bob Bookchin on mutant hemoglobins. He and Bob published several papers mapping the Inhibition of BhS polymerization using naturally occurring mutations in the days before site-directed mutagenesis.
In his 45-year career at Einstein, Dr. Nagel published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and was author or co-author on five scientific books on hemoglobin and two volumes of poetry.