The Eastern Pennsylvania Branch and the international microbiology and immunology community have lost a major figure in research and education. For us in Philadelphia, it is a special loss as he was a friend and colleague to so many. He was very active in the Eastern Pennsylvania Branch,and served as our President from 1970-71. For the next 7 years he organized yearly 2 day symposia that were advertised nationally and drew a sizeable audience of around 200.

Dr. Friedman was born in Philadelphia during the great depression, attended CentralHigh School, and received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TempleUniversity. In 1957 he received his Ph.D. from what was then Hahnemann MedicalSchool, which is now part of Drexel University College of Medicine.   His undergraduate and master’s majors were in bacteriology, chemistry and biochemistry, and his Ph.D. was designated in Medical Microbiology and Biochemistry.   His thesis advisor was Al Moat, a bacterial physiologist, and his first paper was in 1956 in the J. of Biological Chemistry on “A role for biotin in the biosynthesis of purines”.  In 1959 Dr. Friedman was appointed Assistant Professor at Temple University’s Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology.  While there, he began his work on immune tolerance.  Between 1963 and 1965 Dr. Friedman had 4 Nature papers and 2 Science papers, with several other papers in the J. of Immunology and the J. of Bacteriology, in the same 3 years. These early papers presaged his prodigious productivity throughout his career.  By 1965 he had become the Head of the Clinical Microbiology and Immunology Laboratories at Albert Einstein Hospital, a full time position whose job description did not encompass doing research.  Nevertheless, Dr. Friedman continued to do intensive basic research throughout the time that he was a laboratory director. Between 1965 and 1970 he had 5 more Nature papers and a Science paper, giving him 9 Nature papers and 3 Science papers in 7 years.  He took on mentoring graduate students from Temple and had a steady stream of postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists at Einstein.

Herman’s early work, which was published in those prestigious journals, was on immunological tolerance to Shigella as a model system, how it occurred and how it could be broken. Dr. Friedman continued to examine immune responses to microbes throughout his career. He has been a major force in the area of microbial immunology, carrying out fundamental research into the mechanisms of immune responses to bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  A theme of at least three of his research directions hasbeen mechanisms by which microbes inhibit immune responses. Beginning in 1968, another Science paper and a Nature paper heralded an observation that would occupy the major part of his mid-career research, immunosuppression by Friend Leukemia virus.  Between 1969 and 1971 Dr. Friedman had five papers in Nature and one in PNAS describing the phenomenon of viral-induced immunosuppression.  His work in this area certainly foreshadowed our later discoveries of immunosuppression with a human retrovirus, HIV. In the mid-70s, Dr. Friedman also began exploring the immunomodulatory activity of the newly purified cholera toxin (choleragen).He had previously developed a bacteriolytic plaque technique using cholera as the target.  Now he explored the immunosuppression which was induced by cholera toxin given prior to other antigens. Most of this work was in the mainstream of immunology at the time, focusing on cellular interactions.

In 1978 he was recruited to Tampa, Florida as Chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at University of South Florida College of Medicine. He was an effective leader of the department for 25 years,until his retirement in 2003, building a successful, well-funded and widely recognized faculty. Beginning in 1981 he began to study the newly discovered bacterial species, Legionella pneumophila. His laboratory developed the mouse model that has proven invaluable for study of this organism. A major thrust of his research since 1985 has been the effect of drugs of abuse, particularly cannibinoids, on immune function. He became a pioneer in the field, establishing one of the major groups pursuing neuroimmune interactions through exploring the effects of abused drugs on the immune system.

He expanded this work to examining the effects of the drugs on microbial infection, in particular, Legionella pneumophila. His laboratory showed that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient in marijuana, enhances susceptibility to this infection. Other studies examined the effects of THC and cocaine on immune responses, showing that both substances are immunosuppressive, and exploring the mechanisms by which this immune depression occurs.  Herman organized the first meeting in the area of drugs of abuse and immunity at USF, and published the proceedings. This initial event was followed by other conferences and publications, helping to establish the field, and to bring together and to stimulate the investigators in what was a somewhatill defined research area.

Survey of Dr. Friedman’s Curriculum vitae reveals a record of enormous productivity, with over 430 refereed papers, 249 conference papers, 74 books edited, and 789 abstracts. He and Noel Rose were the editors of the first edition of the “Manual of Clinical Immunology” published by the ASM and he continued to be an editor through the 4th edition. Dr. Friedman was an incomparable mentor. He trained 59 postdoctoral fellows, 15 graduate students, and hosted 9 visiting scientists. Dr. Friedman received numerous honors and awards over the years. From the American Society for Microbiology he received 1) the Becton-Dickinson Outstanding Microbiologist Award for outstanding research accomplishments leading to or forming the foundation for important applications in clinical microbiology, 2) the Abbott Award for Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology for significant contributions to the understanding of the functioning of the host immune system in human disease, clinical approaches to diseases involving the immune system or development, or clinical application of immunodiagnostic procedures, 3)the Distinguished Service Award, 4) the Professional Achievement Award. He is a past President of the Reticuloendothelial Society (now the Society for Leukocyte Biology). At the Universityof South Florida he has been recognized with the Distinguished Scientist Award, designation as a Distinguished Research Professor, and the Award for Professorial Excellence. The Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology awarded him the Joseph Wybran award for his contributions to the field. He also received the distinguished Alumnus Awardfrom the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of Drexel University School of Medicine. All of the awards do not begin to convey the essence of Herman Friedman, the scientist or the human being.  He never wavered in his totalcommitment to research.  He always saw the potential in every person he ever mentored, and brought out the best in them. Those of us who knew Herman feel privileged to have had him as a colleague, friend or mentor.  His absence will be deeply felt.

Toby Eisenstein, Ph.D.


 Obituary

FRIEDMAN, Dr. Herman, PhD, age 75 of Tampa died Saturday, August 25, 2007 following an extended illness. Dr. Friedman came to Tampa in 1978 from his native, Philadelphia, PA. Loving husband of 49 years to Ilona, devoted father of Frank, Michele, Suzy, and Andie, cherished uncle, great-uncle and adored Zaide of eight grandchildren. Dr. Friedman was a distinguished professor emeritus and former Chairman of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of South Florida School of Medicine. He was a lifelong scholar, professor, teacher and scientist. He was recipient of numerous national and international awards and author or editor of more than 60 books and more than 800 scientific abstracts & articles. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM Monday at Congregation Kol Ami, 3919 Moran Road, Tampa, Interment will follow at Gan Shalom Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or Congregation Kol Ami.

TBO.com (August 26, 2007)