September 2011
Volume 52, Issue 10
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Lecture  |   September 2011
Introducing James T. Rosenbaum, the 2011 Recipient of the Friedenwald Award
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2011, Vol.52, 7711. doi:10.1167/iovs.11-8256
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      Friederike Mackensen; Introducing James T. Rosenbaum, the 2011 Recipient of the Friedenwald Award. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(10):7711. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8256.

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Jim Rosenbaum is the Edward E. Rosenbaum Professor of Inflammatory Diseases; Chair, Division of Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases; Vice Chair, Department of Ophthalmology; Professor of Ophthalmology, Medicine and Cell Biology, Head of the Uveitis Clinic; and Director of Inflammation Research at Oregon Health & Science University and the Casey Eye Institute. Just by looking at this list of titles and positions, you get a first impression of his accomplishments. 
Robin Cook wrote a novel, Outbreak, in which this dialog takes place: An ophthalmologist: “‘Some of the viruses like Ebola and even the AIDS virus have been localized in tears and aqueous humor. Some of them even cause anterior uveitis.’ ‘Oh,’ said Marissa, nodding as if she understood. Actually she had no idea what anterior uveitis was.” 
I think this is how Jim may have felt when he tried to introduce arthritis in a rat model, and none of the rats developed arthritis, but all developed anterior uveitis! The findings were published in 1980 in Nature—how cool is that, having a paper in Nature at age 31 and in that same paper outline the work one will do for the next 31 years…and counting. 
Being the prototype of a clinician scientist even before the term was coined, Jim, after having become acquainted with uveitis in the rodent, took the logical next step and started to see patients with uveitis, first volunteering at the Proctor Foundation and then, from 1985 on, working in his own clinic at the Casey Eye Institute. In the late 1990s, he went back to studying mice, with in vivo imaging of uveitis, together with his fellow, Matthias Becker. 
But where did it all begin? Jim was born in arguably the most beautiful city of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon, and went to high school there. He attended Harvard College starting in 1967 and studied social relations. Stanford University and Yale University Medical School were the next stations, and Jim obtained his MD in 1975. He returned to Stanford for his internship and residency in internal medicine and then a fellowship with Hugh O. McDevitt, provided by the Arthritis Foundation, where the above-mentioned rats and uveitis came into his life. 
When fellows and coworkers were asked to help with this introduction, two things were most frequently mentioned: how inspirational it is to work and do research with Jim, and his dedication to promoting the career of his trainees. Unfortunately, space restrictions prevent me from sharing the remarks of these associates. 
One goal is to be a great scientist, but another is to be a great teacher, and thus multiply the impact of one's achievements. The list of Jim's trainees is long and includes numerous PhD candidates, post-Docs and KO8 Mentees who later obtained renowned positions. Jim also founded a course, together with other Oregon Health and Science University faculty members, to teach science to high school students. The course is now in its 12th year. 
What I envy most about Jim is his great ability to write scientific prose that is easy and entertaining to read. Medline lists approximately 300 peer-reviewed papers that he has written. He has also co-authored a book and has written more than 60 invited book chapters. In addition, he has been published as an essayist and editorialist in Science, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Pathology
Even with all his work obligations Jim manages to have a good blend of family life and professional career, together with his wife, Sandy Lewis, a successful cardiologist, and their two daughters, Lisa and Jennifer. This includes coaching his daughters' basketball teams and running a marathon together. 
Personally, I was Jim's fellow in 2005, and he has had a great impact on my research, awakening my curiosity and teaching me to look behind obstacles, ask the impossible, and dream of solutions. He never stops questioning, wondering, and learning. This year's Friedenwald award, in my eyes, goes to the right person, to encourage him to keep up this fantastic work. 
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