Complement UK

Sir Peter Julius LACHMANN (December 1931 - December 2020)

Complement UK announces the loss of its most senior Member, a brilliant scientist and an energetic, kind and most inspiring leader, Sir Peter Julius LACHMANN. Peter was undoubtedly gifted with one of the brightest minds ever to grace our field; he promoted and led complement research for almost half a century, both on the national and international stages. He was a brilliant mentor and educator with an encyclopaedic knowledge and a very kind heart.

Peter was the best audience anyone could hope for, attentive, analytical and witty and always willing to incorporate new ideas into his vast repertoire. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society (1982), Founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1998), Member of the British Society for Immunology (since 1959), Member of the American Association of Immunologists (since 1966), Honorary Member of the Société Française d'Immunologie (since 1980), Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, President of the Council and Board of Directors of "International Journal of Experimental Pathology" (1991-2014), Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (1991), Member of the Academia Europaea (1992), Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Pathology, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (1993), Fellow of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (1995), Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (1997), Gold Medallist of the European Complement Network (1997), Honorary Member of the Association of Physicians (1998), Foundation Fellow of the University College London Hospitals (1999), Fellow, Imperial College (2001) and Honorary Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge (2007)–to name a few of the very many honours he received. Peter was knighted for his contributions to Medical Science in 2002.

Beside his intellect, he was a very kind-hearted leader and mentor supporting a wide range of individuals including many who went on to become leaders in the complement arena. Always mindful and supportive of career development, Peter remained dedicated, throughout his life, to furnishing talented and committed researchers with glowing references. In conferences, Peter was always ready with the most insightful comment or probing question, delighted to spark vigorous debate among the audience. He had enormous stamina to search for progress and innovation and possessed a remarkable ability to extract the essence and critical novelty of every talk and reflect it against his encyclopaedic knowledge of the literature. His comments were very constructive, often delivered with humour and with incisiveness that was difficult to argue with, as we signatories know only too well.

Peter never lost sight of the translational aspects of research; indeed, he founded two commercial enterprises, the last company only a few years ago when he was well into his 80s. Peter was the perfect host and organised several scientific meetings in Cambridge, among them the unforgettable 14th International Complement Workshop in 1991 and, more recently, a memorable Complement UK meeting in Cambridge in 2015. We attach photos of Peter from 3 phases of his life, one from 1964, when he was working at the bench as a young scientist, one photo of 1978 when he had established himself as a research leader in his own right and one photo of him in 2019 beside his cherished (and hugely supportive) wife Sylvia, and in the midst of his friends and colleagues, on the occasion of a Symposium organised at Christ’s College Cambridge in his honour. In each photo his love and enthusiasm for research and academic discussions is clearly visible. Peter is (and will be) dearly missed by the national and international immunology and complement community. We all owe him so much.

Posted on behalf of Complement UK by the Executive Committee – Steven Sacks, Paul Morgan, Wilhelm Schwaeble, Richard Harrison, Claire Harris, Simon Clark.

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