ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of Dr. Michael Gottlieb, treasured husband, father, grandfather, colleague, and friend.
Posted by Katherine Taylor on June 6, 2021
So sad to receive the news of Michael's death. A true gentleman, brilliant scientist, and friend to so many. Michael used his platform to reduce the suffering from infectious diseases of so many around the world. May he rest in peace and may his family know that he was a treasured colleague.  
Posted by Elizabeth Johns on May 21, 2021
Michael was nice to everyone and what a great sense of humor, too. He was always welcoming and very kind. And worked so hard to serve others in the research mission. A giant of a man, with a big heart to match - we will always miss you, Michael.
Posted by Jim Lavery on May 19, 2021
I met Michael in 2005 at the start of the Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. We soon found ourselves hanging out together in some of the many beautiful places in the world that mosquitoes are particularly fond of. There was no "start-up" phase in a relationship with Michael--he simply engaged you: "What do you think about this science question?" or "What do you think about this ethics question?" Michael had a preternatural enthusiasm and positivity, which he delivered through his amazing smile. He was a pure joy to hang around with. My favourite memory of Michael is when we were paired together as "buddies" on a snorkling trip out on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Michael told me that he wasn't the strongest swimmer, which gave me visions of a daring ocean rescue, but we shared an amazing experience, including seeing sharks and all manner of aquatic creatures among the coral. Michael was a blessing in life and his memory will absolutely remain a blessing to me, as it will for so many who's lives he touched. My sincere condolences to Michael's family.
Posted by Kathy Peterson on May 14, 2021
I was so saddened to hear of Michael's passing. We worked together at the FNIH for years. He taught me to say good morning in Hebrew, which I did every morning as I passed him on my way to my office. I remember he would post interesting things on his door - there was an ad from the 1950s of a child's wallpaper that had DDT dots on it. I quote him frequently to my friends as he told me the leading cause of death for penguins at the Baltimore Zoo was Malaria. It was bittersweet when he retired - he loved his family and was so looking forward to having more time with his grandchildren, but we lost seeing him. The world is a better place because of him. He will be missed.
Posted by Elizabeth Gittman on May 12, 2021
My heartfelt condolences and kindest thoughts as I remember a fine gentleman. May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead.
Posted by Rick Tarleton on May 12, 2021
Very, very sorry to hear of Mike's illness and passing.

No doubt that Mike was a PI's PO! He took a special interest in Chagas disease (or maybe it just seemed that way to me) and was instrumental in making sure funding was available for that most neglected disease. He was absolutely critical for the survival of my program and was a big force behind the sequencing of the "Tritryp" genome. 

What always most impressed me was not what he knew (which was considerable) but what he knew he did not know but that we as a community needed to know. He had opinions but also fought for the best to get done. Wish there were many more like him! 
Posted by Nancy Wine on May 11, 2021
I was saddened to learn of the death of your beloved Michael, and I want to extend my deepest condolences to you and your family.

Although no words can ease the pain of your loss, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you strength, patience, courage, and most of all, sweet memories as you mourn. Please know that love surrounds you.

I have sweet memories of Michael. We shared bagels and coffee after morning minyans. I enjoyed learning from him and with him. He was thoughtful, kind, wise, and so much more. He always asked thought-provoking questions and made insightful comments. Given the health issue he was dealing with, I was impressed by the African American Music Performance program he put together. He was humble and respectful. He was a mensch. May his memory be for a blessing.


With my sympathy
Nancy
Posted by Terrie Taylor on May 10, 2021
Just seeing this news now, and wanted to add my tribute to all of the others here. Michael was such an unusual combination of perspicacity, warmth, and intimate knowledge of key systems and processes. 

I bet many of us never even realized how many "skids" he "greased" for us!

He was a cordial and amusing presence in a vast bureaucracy and thus was and will forever be greatly appreciated!

Best wishes to his family --- he ADORED you all!!
Posted by Dick Guerrant on May 10, 2021
  As are so many, I am personally indebted to Michael in many ways. In the 1980s Michael was key from the beginning of 5 ICIDR Awards with Aldo Lima to return to lead our now 44-year collaboration in Fortaleza, Brazil, which helped us launch our subsequent MAL-ED collaborations that Michael also led.  
  Especially memorable are the rich email discussions we had over this last difficult year about our current writings about evolution and caring that led to Michael’s teaching me about his “Scientists in Synagogues” and “Sinai and Synapses” programs and his March, 2020 email saying “I'm loving this discussion.” 
Posted by Edgar Carvalho on May 10, 2021
I and colleagues from Bahia, Brazil, are deeply sad with the news.
Mike was a great scientist and visited us a couple of time as well as our leishmaniasis endemic area. He gave a great support to foreign investigators and to the Tropical Medicine Research Centers.

Edgar M Carvalho
Posted by carole long on May 9, 2021
I have known Mike for many decades starting when I was in the extramural research community and he was a program officer for research grants. Michael was always supportive and encouraging to those who were trying to start a career and obtain NIH funding for their work. He made significant suggestions and contributions to the work of others. I knew him initially through NIH review sessions and later through contacts during his time at FNIH. Mike was a very fine person, a person of integrity, highly respected by the community, and always a thoughtful and helpful colleague. While I did not work closely with him, I really feel his loss and I send my deepest sympathies to his family.
Posted by Chris Hunter on May 8, 2021
So sad to read this news. Met Michael when I was a grad student at a science meeting in the UK (he bought me an ice cream) and seemed so genuinely interested in science. Then again as I transitioned to being a PI. Always went the extra mile to give advice, support, encouragement and direction. Never really got to say thanks.
Posted by Ted Nash on May 6, 2021
I first met Mike Gottlieb when he initially came to the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases around June 1974, about 47 years and a lifetime ago. I was about to go to Harvard for Infectious Disease fellowship and he had just left. On my return to the LPD in 1976, I got to know Michael better at first in the LPD and after he left, we kept in touch professionally, at meetings, and at times casually during chance meetings. Michael was smart, uplifting, positive, fun loving, and a joy to be around. Although many try, he attained and lived life as a gentleman and scholar- a life well lived. Like so many others that he knew and advised, I was saddened to hear of his illness and passing.
Posted by Alan Sher on May 5, 2021
Michael taught us all a lesson about the power of generosity, personal warmth and integrity. He and I first met in 1978 at Hopkins and every professional and personal interaction I had with him over the subsequent 40+ years was memorable for its thoughtful and caring but at the same time relaxed and frequently light hearted tone. His contributions as both a laboratory scientist and program administrator were extensive and meaningful and he was a hero to both his grantees and professional colleagues. We are so sorry to have lost this wonderful and very special friend.
Posted by Phillip Scott on May 5, 2021
I knew Mike from the time I was at NIH as a post-doc in the 80’s, and got to know him even more when he was a program officer at NIH. There are many people who knew him much better than I did, but I think I can speak for many to say Mike was extremely well-loved by the scientific community— by all who he interacted with at every stage of his career. He was great at his job, and when Mike left NIH we knew we lost a great supporter for those of us on the outside vying for grants. Mike treated everyone with respect; quite simply, Mike was a wonderful guy- thoughtful, kind, respected, funny, and someone I wish I had known better. He is on a very short list of people that I would say that about. 
Posted by Pradip Rathod on May 5, 2021
Michael was our program officer, going back all the way to the late 1980s. He inspired confidence and trust. He admired risk taking, and truth. Michael will be missed but never forgotten. More under "Stories" .....
Posted by Joel BremanVicki10 on May 5, 2021
I met Michael in the late 1990s when I first came to the Fogarty International Center at NIH. We developed an extramural research training program in emerging infectious diseases with NIAID. Stephanie, Michael and Libby Higgs were wonderful in guiding me through the procedures of creating and competing grant applications. When Dr. Varmus initiated the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Michael had a predominant role in the complexities of engaging African scientists in doing more and better work in malaria research-and growing the malaria research community in Africa and elsewhere. I remember Michael and Joan dancing at our reception in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2002 celebrating the success of MIM. I recall when Michael followed Stephanie to the NIH Foundation and managed a very complex enteric diseases research adventure, again with FIC scientists. Not easy but the job got done, in great part because of Michael's talent. At Michael's retirement from the FNIH he told me he was going to NYC to be closer to grandkids. The best reason ever! I will miss his lovely smile and informed presence, particularly at the Tropical Medicine meetings where he was a regular.
Posted by Michael Santos on May 4, 2021
I feel very fortunate to have started my global health career working with Michael. It was immediately clear how well respected he was and why, as he seemed effortlessly thoughtful in his guidance to the project. I have remembered that experience very fondly over the years. I am honored to now have a role on a team that Michael served with such distinction, and appreciate the challenge we have to live up to high standard that he set. My thoughts are with all those bereaved by this loss.
Posted by Larry Zwiebel on May 4, 2021
Our GCGH project was incredibly fortunate to have had Michael as our FNIH program officer. Over the course of our 10+ yr journey together Michael became a dear friend. He was responsible for countless suggestions and direct contributions that helped make our project the great success that it was. Michael’s passing is a great loss for all of us who had the sincere pleasure of knowing him. We will miss his wise counsel, calm perspective, humanity as well as his wicked sense of humor. Even now, I can hear his laughter…

Warmest condolences to all the others he touched and most especially to his sincerely beloved family
Posted by Eva Coyne on May 4, 2021
Michael, you will be on my heart forever and always! May your soul rest in peace mi querido amigo. You will be deeply missed! Love you my friend!

My heart goes out to Michael's family, loved ones and to everyone who loved him.
Posted by Steve Buchsbaum on May 4, 2021
I first met Micheal when I started at the Gates Foundation in 2005. Little did I know then what an important guide Micheal would be both directly and by example for me as I learned about Global Health and philanthropy. He did all that he did with a wonderful and generous approach and a deep respect and commitment to the people whose lives his work would improve. 

Micheal was truly a hero who did so much for so many with so few expectations for himself. 
Posted by David Wholley on May 4, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of Michael's passing. He was a real gentleman, a particular help to me when I first started at the Foundation for the NIH in 2006, and an inspiration to all who knew him and who had the pleasure of working with him. He had a pretty wicked sense of humor too when you got to know him! He will be sorely missed. Condolences to his family and loved ones.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Katherine Taylor on June 6, 2021
So sad to receive the news of Michael's death. A true gentleman, brilliant scientist, and friend to so many. Michael used his platform to reduce the suffering from infectious diseases of so many around the world. May he rest in peace and may his family know that he was a treasured colleague.  
Posted by Elizabeth Johns on May 21, 2021
Michael was nice to everyone and what a great sense of humor, too. He was always welcoming and very kind. And worked so hard to serve others in the research mission. A giant of a man, with a big heart to match - we will always miss you, Michael.
Posted by Jim Lavery on May 19, 2021
I met Michael in 2005 at the start of the Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. We soon found ourselves hanging out together in some of the many beautiful places in the world that mosquitoes are particularly fond of. There was no "start-up" phase in a relationship with Michael--he simply engaged you: "What do you think about this science question?" or "What do you think about this ethics question?" Michael had a preternatural enthusiasm and positivity, which he delivered through his amazing smile. He was a pure joy to hang around with. My favourite memory of Michael is when we were paired together as "buddies" on a snorkling trip out on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Michael told me that he wasn't the strongest swimmer, which gave me visions of a daring ocean rescue, but we shared an amazing experience, including seeing sharks and all manner of aquatic creatures among the coral. Michael was a blessing in life and his memory will absolutely remain a blessing to me, as it will for so many who's lives he touched. My sincere condolences to Michael's family.
his Life

From the ASTMH

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene posted a memorial to Michael Gottlieb on May 7: https://www.astmh.org/blog/may-2021/in-memoriam-michael-gottlieb,-phd 

Michael's Professional Life

Michael Gottlieb received his Ph.D. in Biology from the City University of New York and conducted post-doctoral research in the Bacterial Physiology Unit of the Harvard Medical School and in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at NIAID, NIH.  In 1978, he joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health where his research efforts focused on the biochemistry and cell biology of pathogenic trypanosomatid protozoa.  In 1991, he returned to NIAID as program officer in, and subsequently Chief of, the Parasitology and International Programs Branch.  Within NIAID, he coordinated the Institute’s International Centers for Tropical Disease Research network and represented the Institute in its support of the Multilateral Initiative in Malaria.  He was also responsible for initiating and developing the Institute’s pathogen genomics research program for which he received the Department of Health and Human Service Secretary’s award.  In 2004, he retired from government service to join the Foundation for NIH, where he served as Associate Director for Science until his retirement in 2018.  There he managed awards under the Grand Challenges in Global Health and Vector-based Control of Transmission: Discovery Research programs, and acted as principal investigator for a multinational project on the Etiology, Risk Factors and Interactions of Enteric Infections and Malnutrition and the Consequences for Child Health and Development

Michael's career in global health research led to many enduring friendships around the world.  He was a widely respected scientific colleague, advisor, mentor, and teacher.  He approached his work as an act of service, to further scientific discovery and support those who conduct it, and to improve the lives of those suffering from tropical infectious diseases. The people Michael worked with always could tell he cared about them, wanted them to succeed, and would do his best to help them do so. Along with his scientific acumen and leadership, his colleagues appreciated the gentle way he advised and guided them. 
Recent stories

Mike, Toxoplasma, Malaria, Wisdom and Laughter

Shared by Rima McLeod on June 9, 2021

I   had the extraordinary good fortune to know and work with the most wonderful, smart, helpful, insightful, good, well-meaning, kind, and supportive program officers, SRO in Jean Hickman, and colleagues in TMP, now DMID NIAID, with Michael who was an exceptional, and  good friend, among the very best. Mike helped our work in many ways: These ways ranged from encouraging me to split our immunology and vaccine work from the human studies work that became the National Collaborative Toxoplasmosis study, to suggesting to us to make a randomized control trial when I had to ask “what does that mean?”, to saying I should take our biochemistry /molecular biology/unique parasite vulnerabilities work work to present at  Eli Lilly to encourage them to support parasitology drug development. He encouraged me develop the first, or one of the first, Data Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs) when I talked with Paul Meier (of Kaplan Meier analyses, “the curve that changed the world”).

          When I came to study section, it was from a hospital with a small research center, I felt so in awe and unqualified when I saw my peers.  I read all 100 grants and Stephanie and Michael smiled. They and Jean told me to “speak up!” Once when we all went to a restaurant at an IRG meeting, I think it was Mike, Rich Locksley, Steve Reed, TV Rajan after a glass of wine, who decided along with me that it should celebrate Jean’s birthday. There was rattlesnake on the menu and different cakes. To relieve the pressure of seeing many innovative and strong grant proposals, frustrated by a ~3rd percentile pay-line and wanting to help many of those grants, we did something silly. We ordered rattle snake and many desserts, each with candles, for Jean. I think Michael was there chuckling more as each cake arrived, each of us finding it was really more and more funny.  Jean was at first perplexed and surprised, it wasn’t her birthday really, but by the third piece of cake she was smiling broadly with good natured amusement and grace. But the silliness relieved the tension of that day. It was good for all of us to laugh together. After all this time I am not positive the details are completely correct, but it reflects  a time of serious scientific discussions, the deep caring about applicants, their work, and  the field, and the fun, playfulness, and friendships that came from Mike, and others. during and after that time. Mike and his colleagues always felt (still feel) like guardian angels for our work. For Mike’s family, I attach our 2020 holiday letter so you might know what Mike and his colleagues helped us to build.

         When I learned Mike had passed away last month, and even now, my eyes fill with tears. I will miss him dearly. I can only begin to imagine how much his family,  Stephanie and Lee must feel. Mike spoke so highly and proudly of all in his family, especially his obstetrician daughter.

         I will continue to think of Mike often, of certain comments he made, Mike’s concern for all people including those living in poverty and underserved, his commitment and passion for. understanding and developing  treatments and vaccines to eliminate these terrible, and often neglected, diseases. I will remember his intelligence, insight, wisdom, his smile and buoyant laugh…and his interest in and affection for all of you./us and we for him.

Warmly,

Rima



Michael, 1993

Mike contributed to each of the following at the start and I think he would be pleased to know
the progress we have made in our work toward eliminating toxoplasmosis this year. I thought his family might like to know the  following: This past year in building a worldwide pre-natal screening program to prevent and treat congenital toxoplasmosis, with colleagues, an exceedingly high functioning lateral chromatography point of care test was created and evaluated through to use in clinical practice. We have initiated an ongoing US clinical trial of this novel diagnostic test.  We have been part of obtaining Ce Mark (European equivalent of the FDA) approval. This was approved December 8, 2020! We are eagerly awaiting review of this same material by the FDA. This has been delayed due to their SARS-CoVi2 work. This inexpensive accurate test will help establish routine screening of pregnant women for acquisition of Toxoplasma to facilitate prompt treatment/prevention to eliminate congenital toxoplasmosis. 

With colleagues we created, formulated, and tested a small molecule inhibitor effective against both fast growing and dormant Toxoplasma in laboratory models. This also cures the malaria parasite. We have plans to develop this toward the clinic with companion compounds. We have established a formal consortium to advance this work. More information about this can be found at the links below and will be added to our updated website “live” early next year at toxoplasmosis.org. We also have a powerful approach for making synergistic anti-sense inhibitors.

We and colleagues are making good progress with innovative recent findings toward a vaccine to prevent infection in humans, stopping oocyst shedding, and better understanding pathogenesis and consequences of this infection.

These are part of Mike and his colleagues wonderful legacy. He truly was a wonderful person.




Shared by Victoria McGovern on May 9, 2021
I apologize for not writing sooner: it is hard to equilibrate to a world without Michael, and harder to pick which thought to write. The central idea seems too big and grand to say flat out, because we all say such flattering things about those who are gone. But here it is: Michael Gottlieb was a catalog of the virtues. He was wise and just and brave and modest. He was thoughtful and prudent and strong. He worked hard and loved his family and loved the communities that he served. He was wry and fun and a joy to be with. He was splendid. I will miss him forever.

I met Michael in person for the first time at the meeting where principal investigators shared ideas of how the Malaria Research and Reference Reagent Resource Center (MR4) should function, then spent the next few years working with him in support of getting complete genomic sequences for the human malaria parasites, and genomics and missing molecular tools in as many of the other Great Neglected Diseases as we could. Working and traveling with Michael and the Wellcome Trust’s Pat Goodwin was a singular education in how a program officer may serve science and scientists. He was my third great advisor, and he left his intellectual stamp. Without him I might not have realized that funding is just biochemistry, full of interesting kinetics and inhibitors, stoichiometry and topology. And I would have never come to see that my role in science is to lift everyone around me higher. That is not an insight that would have come easily to me if I had leaned on any other teacher, and it is, in the end, the only thing that matters. I am grateful.

 
Shared by Rebecca Blank on May 6, 2021
Michael was like my second dad. We first met when I interviewed at the Foundation for NIH. In my first week as a scientific program manager he called me into his office and sat me down for what I thought would be a conversation about our project. Instead he took out a yellow notepad and a pen and proceeded to tell me about the "two daughters"; one who started putting into her retirement account as soon as she started her first job and the other who did not start a retirement fund until much later. He then calculated out how each daughter would fare later in life; one comfortably in a retirement community with savings, and the other, well, not quite destitute... but barely. I immediately went home that night and told my own father that I better start putting in money immediately into my retirement fund.
After working with Michael for about a year, he told me that he was bringing his daughter to the FNIH yearly picnic and he thought that we would get along. He basically set us up and, since he had an uncanny ability to understand people's true essence, of course he was right and Perri and I became fast friends. Once I moved up to NYC, I met his other daughter, Aren, and that was it; I had an adopted family. It was such a joy to become friends with Michael and then his whole family.
Once Michael got sick and NYC became enveloped in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was hard to see him but luckily during last summer and into fall we were able to take some nice strolls outside with family by his side and sometimes my toddler would come along as well. He always wanted to focus on how I was doing; asking questions about fellowship and my research. He loved to learn and was always thirsty for knowledge. He will live forever in my heart.