Sep 26, 2021

In memory of Professor Hans-Joachim Gabius

Dr. Hans-Joachim Gabius (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany), was a great glycobiologist, dedicated educator and respected Editorial Organizer. He suddenly passed away on August 2, 2021 at the age of 66. We have had the honor to collaborate with Dr. Gabius on numerous occasions, including editorial meetings and international conferences, where we exchanged ideas and discussed the “sugar code” and galectins. Dr. Gabius had enthusiastically supported this series on the Glycoforum website, which focuses on galectins and the unsolved questions surrounding this field. He has shared with us his thoughts and profound insights on the evolution and molecular function of galectin. We were lost for words when learning of his passing, and are hit by a deep sense of loss and sadness. We were looking forward to asking Hans for a sequel of his original contribution entitled “Galectins: (much) more than ga(lactose-binding)lectins” published in February 2021, and have difficulty accepting the fact that we have lost such an extraordinary scientist. We sincerely hope that condolences given by members of this series can help to alleviate the grief of the bereaved family.

When we were young
(At Interlec 9, Cambridge, 1987. Photo by Dr. Kasai)

On behalf of the members of the Galectins series
Editors: Jun Hirabayashi (Tokai National Higher Education Organization Nagoya University, Institute for Glyco-core Research) and Sachiko Sato (Laval University School of Medicine, CHU de Quebec Research Center)

Messages from friends (in alphabetical order)

Hans was a postdoc in my lab at UCSD in the mid-1980s where he became interested in several galectins my lab had discovered. I remained in touch with him over the years and was greatly impressed by his many stimulating contributions to our understanding of protein-glycoconjugate interactions. His untimely passing is a great loss us all.

Samuel Barondes

Hans-Joachim Gabius was an insightful pioneer of galectin research and will be missed by the many collaborators that he engaged with and enjoyed over the years.

James Dennis, Fred Brewer, Michael Demetriou

Hans was a one of the very few scientists whose thoughtful scientific and even philosophical views I could realize and share. It is too sad that I can no longer discuss the content of various matters with him, including evolution of galectins and many other intriguing themes.

Jun Hirabayashi

Research from Hans-Joachim Gabius has strongly inspired the galectin community. I was impressed by his exceptional personality and stimulating presentations. I express my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Ralf Jacob

I am sad that we will not have the opportunity to receive his inspiring views and concepts on the function of glycans again.

Kenich Kasai

Hans will be much missed. I met him first time in Sam Barondes lab around 1985, and since then we have followed similar scientific paths, in particular on galectins. I will miss Hans lively and inspirational ideas, and highly respect his energetic custody of glycoscience.

Hakon Leffler

Hans-Joachim Gabius has strongly impacted the research community on galectins. It was quite impressive to have met him at the 2016 EMBO Galectins meeting, which I won’t ever forget. My sincere sympathy to his family, friends and lab members.

Ludger Johannes

Hans Gabius and I obtained grants from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and USA/National Science Foundation, respectively, to collaborate on the topic “Lectin (Galectin)-Ligand (Carbohydrate/ Peptide) Interaction”. Hans visited us in March 2001, together with his colleague Herbert Kaltner, and I, along with my colleague Daniel Hsu, visited his group in Munich in March 2004. I have fond memories of the mutual visits. The collaboration proved to be productive, we published 15 scientific papers together, many as a three-way collaboration with the group of Professor Karel Smetana at Charles University in Czech Republic. We met at various international conferences, including the 21st InterLec (Shonan, Japan) in 2004, and EMBO Workshop on galectins (Nice, France) in 2016. I have always been impressed with his enthusiasm for science and vast scientific knowledge, which were also reflected in the lectures he delivered in his unique unconventional style. Hans was a leading investigator in the field of animal lectins and plant lectins and has also greatly contributed to the subject of lectin-carbohydrate interactions with his expertise in biophysics. His passing is a tremendous loss for the field of glycobiology.

Fu-Tong Liu

Prof. Hans-J Gabius was undoubtedly a pioneer in demonstrating the importance of the "sugar code" and lectins as decoders of this biological information and a great influence for a generation of young lectin researchers. As a personal note, I remember very well the great time I had with him and his close collaborators when he invited me to visit his lab in Munchen (2002) and also when we met at the Interlect Meeting (2003) in Shonan Village, Japan.

Gabriel A. Rabinovich

Dr. Hans-Joachim Gabius injected inspiring ideas into the area of galectins and field of glycobiology. I will forever remember his shining eyes, which were filled with curiosity and excitement. May he rest in peace.

Sachiko Sato