Endre A. Balazs, MD, the Malcolm P. Aldrich Research Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology, died Aug. 29, 2015, at age 95.

According to a New York Times obituary, Dr. Balazs devoted decades to studying the potential uses of hyaluronic acid, a viscoelastic substance discovered in 1934 by Dr. Karl Meyer in an ophthalmology lab at Columbia. Dr. Balazs and his company received a patent for a hyaluronan derivative called Healon, which transformed cataract and corneal surgery.

Products Dr. Balazs helped develop also improve mobility for people crippled by osteoarthritis of the knee. Because hyaluronan was found to prevent postoperative scar tissue and can retain almost 100 times its weight in water, it has been used in skin moisturizers, sunscreens, wrinkle creams, and other cosmetics.

Reproductive endocrinologist and geneticist Georgiana M. Jagiello, MD, co-director of what is thought to be the first in vitro fertilization program in New York City, died March 9, 2015. Dr. Jagiello was the Virgil G. Damon Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics & Gynecology and also professor emeritus of genetics & development. She had the distinction of being the first woman appointed to an endowed chair at P&S. She retired in 2006.

Dr. Jagiello joined Columbia in 1970 and in 1975 was appointed director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences, the research arm of Columbia’s International Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction. The IVF program she co-directed with Dr. Raymond Vande Wiele opened on Valentine’s Day in 1983. She is credited with perfecting a technique for harvesting eggs during IVF procedures. She devoted much of her career to investigating the causes of Down syndrome and understanding the changes that take place in human egg cells as a woman matures.

In the National Library of Medicine’s “Changing the Face of Medicine” exhibit celebrating America’s women physicians, Dr. Jagiello responded to the question, “How do I make a difference?”: “My academic career has allowed me to make contributions to basic science (the genetics of oogenesis), patient care (IVF), teach medical and doctoral students as well as residents, and to serve on national advisory boards, private philanthropic foundations, and trusteeships.” She received the P&S Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

Other Faculty Deaths
Ann Appelbaum, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, died March 11, 2015.
John H. Laragh, MD, former professor of medicine, died March 20, 2015.
Donald Lewis Schotland, MD, former neurology faculty member (from 1962 to 1967), died Aug. 13, 2015. He was a resident in neurology and fellow in neuropathology at Columbia.