G. Jeanette Thorbecke, M.D., Ph.D.

G. Jeanette Thorbecke

 Brief Bio

Geertruida Jeanette Thorbecke (1929–2001) was the seventy-third president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1989 to 1990. For over 40 years, Thorbecke was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine.

Thorbecke received her M.D. in 1950 from the University of Gronignen in the Netherlands, where, in 1954, she also earned her Ph.D. She spent 1954 to 1956 in the United States as a postdoctoral fellow at the Lobund Institute for Germfree Animals at the University of Notre Dame. She returned to the Netherlands in 1956 to become an assistant in the Department of Pathology at the University of Leiden but stayed in her homeland only one year before moving to the United States permanently. She joined the staff at the NYU School of Medicine as a research associate in the Department of Pathology in 1957. The following year, she became an instructor, and, in 1961, she joined the full-time faculty. She quickly rose through the academic ranks at NYU, where she spent the rest of her career, serving as assistant professor (1961–1966), associate professor (1966–1970), and professor of pathology (1970–2001). Thorbecke’s career abruptly ended in 2001, when, while in Hawaii to receive the Marie T. Bonazinga Award, she died from complications resulting from jellyfish stings.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1961
President: 1989–1990
Vice President: 1988–1989
Councillor: 1984–1988

The Journal of Immunology
Associate Editor: 1972–1977
Program Committee: 1971–1974
Committee on Women’s Status: 1971–1972
Nominating Committee: 1972–1973
Committee for Travel Awards to Third International Congress: 1974–1977
Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Group Immunologists: 1976–1978
Committee on the Status of Women: 1978–1979
Finance Committee: 1994–1997

Other Service
AAI Representative to ad hoc FASEB Conference Committee: 1973–1974
AAI Representative to IUIS General Assembly: 1986–1987, 1993–1995
AAI Representative to FASEB Board: 1988–1991
AAI Representative to IUIS Council: 1990–1992

 President's Address

"Focusing: The Dilemma of Interpreting Sharp Images on a Blurred Background," Delivered June 5, 1990.

The Journal of Immunology 145, no. 9 (1990): 2779–90.

 Awards and Honors

  • Corresponding Member, Royal Dutch Academy of Science, 1980
  • Van Loghem Laureate, Dutch Society of Immunology, 1989
  • Outstanding Woman Scientist Award, New York Metropolitan Chapter of the Association for Women in Science, 1989
  • Rose Hirschler Award, Women’s Dermatologic Society, 1999
  • Marie T. Bonazinga Award (now  SLB Legacy Keynote Lecture Award), Society for Leukocyte Biology, 2001

 Institutional/Biographical Links

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