Ramzi S. Cotran

Ramzi Suliman Cotran


Born: 7 December, 1932 Haifa, Palestine

Died: 23 October, 2000, Brookline, Massachusetts

Academic Degrees

  • AB: American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 1952
  • MD: American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 1956

Academic Positions

  • 960 - 1972 Instructor in Pathology then Associate in Pathology, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1960 - 1974 Assistant in Pathology then Associate Pathologist, and Associate Director, Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1972 - 2000 Frank B. Mallory Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1974 - 2000 Pathologist-in-Chief, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1980 - 2000 Chairman, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • 1990 - 2000 Interim Chair, then Chairman, Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts


  • American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston City Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases and Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York City

Selected Career Highlights

  • Widely acknowledged as one of the foremost academic pathologists and Chairmen of Pathology in the United States.

  • Co-Author of Robbins (and Cotran's and Kumar's) Textbooks of Pathology: Pathological Basis of Disease and Basic Pathology (from 1979 to 2002). These have been the most well-known and widely read pathology textbooks in the world for the past four decades.

  • Authored more than 180 research papers including seminal papers on the pathogenesis of chronic reflux/chronic pyelonephritis, glomerular permeability (with Drs. Venkatakchalam and Rennke), acute inflammation (with Dr. Guido Majno), angiogenesis (with Dr. Judah Folkman) and endothelium (with Dr. Michael Gimbrone). Developed with others one of the world's most successful centers in Vascular Biology. They were among the first to develop reproducible methods for the culture of vascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. Their discoveries led to important advances in the understanding of leukocyte endothelial interactions in inflammation (including identification of the first endothelial specific leukocyte adhesion molecule, ELAM-1 or E-selectin), and the documentation of the importance of endothelial activation and adhesion molecules in vivo.

  • Directed the USCAP Long Course in Inflammation (1981) and numerous other courses at the USCAP.

  • President of The American Association of Pathologists (1986), UAREP (1990), and The American Society of Nephrology (1994).

  • Life-Long Trustee of the American Board of Pathology.

  • Elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Member of numerous Editorial Boards including:

    • Blood Vessels
    • Circulation Research
    • Clinical Nephrology
    • Experimental and Molecular Pathology
    • Laboratory Investigation
    • Microvascular Research
  • Under his guidance the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital grew from 13 to 70 faculty members (and became a national model for a truly integrated academic pathology department, excellent clinically and in research).

  • Recipient of both Harvard Medical School's Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring, and the Dean's Award for Support and Advancement of Women Faculty.

  • A Professorship in his name was instituted at Harvard Medical School.

  • Recipient of the first-ever USCAP President's Award (awarded posthumously).

  • Trained and mentored more individuals in high academic esteem, including Chairs of Pathology (more than 18) than "just about anyone else"! Often called "The Pathologist's Pathologist. He always considered his role in mentoring such graduates as his proudest achievement.

  • Numerous awards including: Distinguished Service Award of the Association of Pathology Chairs (1992), and the 1994 Gold Medal of the American University of Beirut Medical Alumni.


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