Bruce A. Holm, Ph.D.
Bruce A. Holm, Ph.D. (MS ’87, PhD ’87), a key figure in the State University of New York at Buffalo’s efforts to develop high-technology and life-sciences research, and an internationally known biomedical researcher, died Feb. 9. A resident of Rochester, N.Y., he was 52.
Then SUNY Buffalo provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Satish Tripathi, Ph.D., called Dr. Holm a quintessential scholar-entrepreneur.
“Bruce was the exemplification of researcher, educator, collaborator and entrepreneur. As the architect of the contemporary manifestation of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, Bruce artfully combined his unique skills with his signature diplomatic manner to create a true center of excellence for research and innovation,” said Tripathi, now SUNY Buffalo president. "As a world renowned scientist and entrepreneur, Bruce was known to many students and young faculty as the consummate mentor helping to support great scientific achievement . . . He will be remembered as a great man of science and a true gentleman whose life’s work will be evident for generations to come."
Dr. Holm was a leading researcher in the biology of lung development and therapeutics for acute lung disease. As a graduate student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, he began collaborating with Buffalo faculty to conduct groundbreaking studies on the mechanisms of acute oxygen toxicity and to explore therapeutic strategies to mitigate the damage.
He was a world leader in defining the role of lung surfactant in lung diseases in patients of all ages and in devising therapies for these diseases. His research with Buffalo colleague Edmund Egan, M.D., on therapeutics for acute lung disease secured two patents that resulted in the development of Infasurf, a lung surfactant that has helped lower the mortality rate for premature newborns.
Dr. Holm joined the full-time SUNY Buffalo faculty in 1989, rising rapidly to professor in 1996. He was named associate dean for research and graduate studies in 1994. In 2000, he became senior associate vice provost for health affairs and in 2002, he was appointed senior vice provost. He was appointed executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in 2004.
Dr. Holm was named SUNY Distinguished Professor, the SUNY system's highest rank, in the Departments of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pharmacology and Toxicology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He published more than 200 scientific papers, as well as book chapters and abstracts on such topics as the biology of lung development, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, Respiratory Distress Syndrome and molecular therapeutics in acute lung injury. He attracted grant awards that totaled more than $75 million.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Holm received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Iowa. He is survived by his parents and his sons, Alexander and Christopher.
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