We are all grieving the death of Stephen I. Katz, MD/PhD. The Society of Investigative Dermatology has lost a man who unquestionably qualifies as a giant of skin biology research. While the world of skin biology research has benefited from many talented researchers and mentors over the past 50 years, there are few, if any individuals who can claim the reach and impact of Dr. Katz.His legacy for the SID is remarkable. He served as President of the SID in 1994 and was the recipient of many SID honors, including giving the William Montagna Lectureship in 1981, receiving the prestigious Stephen Rothman award in 1997, the Kligman Frost award in 2009, and was ultimately awarded Honorary Membership in the Society in 2011.He received innumerable awards and recognition from countless other organizations, which are described in detail on the NIAMS website
. He was a superstar.
Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Steve well understood that his brilliance in the laboratory was complemented by his remarkable skills as a relationship builder. As one of his colleagues described him, he was a “real mensch”. He was a remarkable man who cultivated leadership roles on the national and international stages with amazing effectiveness, while at the same time cultivating personal relationships locally and mentoring young scientists. He happily participated in the SID Annual Resident and PhD retreat, giving lectures and sharing his passion and knowledge with the young aspiring future leaders of cutaneous biology. It was a highlight for many at these retreats.
In this interview he was asked:
“A theme of our interview today has been relationships, relationships between different scientists. Do you think that the ability to mentor, to be mentored and to have collegial relationships is integral to scientific success?”
His answer speaks volumes about who he was:
“Well, I do. I think it’s been a big part of whatever success I’ve had. It’s been a big part of my success. It’s been a big part of whatever accolades I’ve gotten from various groups and people. I would be the last to say I’ve done it on my own”
He might not have done it on his own, but his talent, brilliance, and dedication have left an enduring positive impact on the SID, the skin research community, each of us individually, and the world as a whole.
With deepest sympathy,