In Memoriam- Dr. Marilena Fotino
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
WE CELEBRATE THE MEMORY OF MEMBERS AND COLLEAGUES WHO ARE NO LONGER WITH US. YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS PAGE ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.
Submitted by: The Rogosin Institute
We mourn the passing of a much-cherished leader and pioneer in the field of Transplantation Immunology, Dr. Marilena Fotino, M.D., Ph.D. Marilena passed peacefully on June 23, 2019 surrounded by her family.
Marilena came to New York having received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Bucharest in Romania. Following a distinguished career as an Investigator at the Institute of Microbiology and Serology, she joined the New York Blood Center in 1965 as an investigator in the Immunohematology Department of The New York Blood Center.
In 1971, with the guidance of Dr. Fred Allen Jr., she established the first Tissue Typing Laboratory in the Greater New York area. She participated in HLA workshops, and developed longstanding friendships and collaborations with Drs. Bernard Amos, Jean Dausset, Erik Kissmeyer-Nielsen, Jon Van Rood, Paul Terasaki and many other prominent scientists.
Marilena not only managed a highly active Tissue Typing laboratory for the next 14 years but also made seminal contributions to the field of immunohematology and histocompatibility. In 1985, the laboratory merged with the Rogosin Institute as the Immunogenetics and Transplantation Center under the joint leadership of Dr. Fotino, and renowned scientist and nephrologist, Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran, where she stayed until her retirement in 2008. Upon her passing, Dr. Suthanthiran would write,
“Dr. Marilena Fotino was a true pioneer in the transplantation field. Her dedication and expertise saved thousands of lives. She was pivotal in our establishing the Immunogenetics and Transplantation Center and her legacy lives through the lives she continues to save. It was a true privilege for me to have known her and work alongside with her.”
Despite her fame and recognition, Marilena remained humble and selflessly taught, trained, advised and parented countless future HLA Technologists, Supervisors and Directors.
Marilena’s passion for work and her colleagues extended to her love for the arts especially the work of Impressionist painters. She herself was an avid painter of watercolors that she shared only with a close-knit group of friends and family. She was tireless and an exercise buff, evidenced by her daily two-mile walk to and from work.
Marilena is survived by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mircea and Ingrid, and her two nieces, Dominica and Adriana.
Hers was a life well lived—a life beyond the reach of many of us.
MAY GOD GRANT HER ETERNAL REST.