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Remembering Dr. Robert H. Rubin, Former Director of the Clinical Investigator Training Program

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dr. Robert H. Rubin, infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School died at home on Sunday, June 3rd, in Brookline, MA after a prolonged illness. Dr. Rubin was a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Medical School. After his medical residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, he was a medical intelligence officer at the Center for Disease Control. He completed his infectious disease training at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Tufts Medical Center. Dr. Rubin was Chief of Transplant Infectious Disease at the MGH for over thirty years before becoming Clinical Director of Infectious Disease at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was called the father of transplant infectious disease for his work on the development of new drugs to treat complicated viral and fungal infections and new and innovative approaches to making immunosuppression safe. He was the author of over 400 original papers, founded the journal, Transplant Infectious Disease, was co-editor of four editions of Clinical Approach to Infection in the Compromised Host with Dr. Lowell Young, and was honored by the American Society of Transplantation with the Ernest Hodge Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his lifelong work to advance transplantation.

He was a transformative physician and visionary who helped create the Pfizer sponsored Clinical Investigation Training Program, which launched the careers of many leading scientists and researchers from the Harvard Medical School community. He also worked with Dr. Honorio Silva and Dr. Guillermo Rodriguez to develop a clinical investigation program for Latin America. Dr. Rubin’s research interests included the development and application of innovative imaging approaches for the assessment of human physiology, pathophysiology and therapeutics. He served as Director of the Center for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences & Technology, where he was the Gordon and Marjorie Osborne Professor of Health Sciences and Technology. In addition, Dr. Rubin’s ability to explore the business aspects of medicine led him to an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

An accomplished tennis and squash player, he most valued his role as honorary coach of his daughter’s Princeton tennis team. Some of his most cherished moments were spent all together as an extended family in the Berkshires. Dr. Rubin was a devoted husband to Dr. Nina Tolkoff- Rubin, beloved father of Melissa and Peter, his wife Ashley and son Dax. He is also survived by his brother Matthew Rubin, his wife Hadass, their children Arik and Michelle and their respective families, Allie Sullivan and Emilia, and Rich Silkes and Jessica, his brother-in-law Dr. Gilbert Daniels, and his nephews Seth and Jon Daniels and their respective families, Dao Nguyen and Adam, and Annie Ostrager, Paul and Avi.

Funeral services will take place at Levine Chapel (470 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446) on Tuesday at 11 AM. Burial will follow at Linwood Cemetery in Randolph. Shiva immediately following the burial at Dr. Rubin’s home until 9 on Tuesday and then Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3 and 7-9. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the MGH Transplant Research Fund c/o MGH Development Office.