Paul Frenette, MD, a treasured member of the ASH community, died on July 26, 2021, at the age of 56.
Born in Quebec, Paul received his MD from Université Laval in Quebec and completed his residency at McGill University. He trained as a hematology-oncology fellow at Tufts New England Medical Center in 1994 and began his lifelong interest in research at MIT and Harvard Medical School. In 1998, he joined the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, rising from instructor to a tenured full professor in 10 years. He was recruited to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as the founding Director and Chair of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in 2010. In this capacity, he hired and mentored many successful junior faculty members, helping the institute develop into the major research establishment it is today.
Paul's major interests were in stem cell regulation, which led to his pioneering work on the stem cell microenvironment — the stem cell “niche.” His team has produced insights into the critical roles of the sympathetic nervous system in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell egress from their niches. Paul established innovative imaging technologies to evaluate the significance of relationships between and within niche structures. His appreciation that dysregulation of some of the normal pathways could explain prostate cancer cell progression, sickle cell vaso-occlusion, and normal aging led to conceptual breakthroughs in our understanding of stem cell adhesion factors, nociceptive communication pathways, and circadian rhythms.
Paul had a long association with ASH. He became a member of the ASH Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Scientific Committee in 2005, and became chair of the committee in 2010. In 2015, he became the president of the International Society of Experimental Hematology, and in 2020, he was appointed to serve as the co-chair of the Scientific Program for the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting.
Paul has mentored more than 50 students and postdoctoral fellows, and his laboratory provided an intellectual, creative, exciting, and scientifically challenging space for more than 20 trainees in the past 10 years — the majority of whom have moved into academic careers. He was the principal investigator for the Einstein Training Program in Stem Cell Research and served as a co-director of the Hematology Networking Core, New York Consortium for Interdisciplinary Training in Kidney, Urological, and Hematological Research. His hope was to establish a Center of Excellence in Hematology.
A highly respected and highly cited scientist, Paul was an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He served on the editorial boards of Blood and The Journal of Clinical Investigation. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and served on multiple panels at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Paul was well known for being laser-focused, quick witted, and able to grasp an idea and understand its implications and ramifications almost immediately. He had a wry sense of humor and a quiet, sincere manner. Paul will be deeply missed.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Nadine, his children Clara and Alberic, and to his close colleagues and many friends. For those who wish to make a contribution in memory of Paul, his family has established the Paul Frenette, MD, Memorial Fund (https://www.einsteinmed.org/giving/frenette/).