A research fund has been established in memory of the late McMaster University professor John Bienenstock.

The Dr. John Bienenstock Research Fund will support research and discoveries in mucosal immunology. It was launched by the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), as well as Bienenstock’s family, friends and colleagues.

Bienenstock was a world-renowned expert in mucosal immunology, which examines how the immune system defends the body against pathogens entering the mucosal membranes in the intestines, respiratory system and parts of the urinary tract.

“Dr. John Bienenstock has had an immense impact on the Faculty of Health Sciences since he joined 55 years ago,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the FHS.

“He was a visionary as a scientist, administrator and academic, inspiring generations of scientists and clinicians to think outside of the box. He was a friend and mentor to many of us, and his legacy of innovation will continue.”

Born in Budapest in 1936, Bienenstock completed his medical degree at King’s College London and Westminster Hospital Medical School, England, in 1960. He joined McMaster in 1968 after finishing a postdoctoral term at Harvard University.

A professor of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Bienenstock retired in 1998 but remained as director of the Brain-Body Institute, a joint research institute of McMaster and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, until his death.

At McMaster, Bienenstock published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles and authored, edited or co-edited 10 books, including a standard textbook on mucosal immunology and allergy.

A well-liked mentor, Bienenstock supervised more than 60 post-doctoral fellows and 10 doctoral students.

Bienenstock also chaired the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine from 1978 to 1989 and was FHS dean and vice-president from 1989 to 1997. His primary focus was supporting research at the Faculty.

His accomplishments were recognized. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1992; a McMaster Distinguished University Professor in 1999; a member of the Order of Canada in 2002; and he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2011. He became a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences Community of Distinction in 2014. He also received an honorary MD from Goteborg, Sweden.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can do so on this dedicated page.

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