Goodbye to a Legend - Dr. Laird Jackson

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It is with heavy hearts that we learned of the recent passing of Dr. LAIRD JACKSON.

When the first founders of the USA Foundation put out a desperate appeal for medical knowledge about Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, one man answered the call – Dr. Laird Jackson.

He leaves a legacy that is immense. His drive to globalise all acquired knowledge of CdLS undoubtedly sowed the seeds of the World Federation of CdLS Support Groups. He was certainly instrumental in the setting up of the Scientific Advisory Council, now a truly global panel of experts. He also fostered the army of professionals we have working with us today.

One such is Tonie Kline MD, his successor as Medical Director of the CdLS Foundation USA and a prominent SAC member. Dr Kline kindly wrote the following obituary:

"Laird G. Jackson, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics, contributed so greatly to the field of Medical Genetics that he was awarded the first David L. Rimoin Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, for which he was a founding member. Many recall his thoughtful and insightful presentations of poetry and genetic topics and live families to the first year medical students, inspiring some to enter fields related to Genetics. Modest to an extreme, he is best known for furthering the field of Cytogenetics, helping bring chorionic villous sampling to the world of prenatal diagnosis, encouraging the use of prenatal microarray diagnosis, and advancing maternal blood sampling for fetal cells, as well as his tireless quest to help those with Cornelia de Lange syndrome. He was recruited by a group of parents whose children all had CdLS to be the advising physician, meeting the children and discussing their medical issues, and subsequently served for many years as the medical director for the CdLS Foundation. Dr. Jackson not only helped countless families with the many medical complications and behavioral issues faced by children with CdLS by recruiting other specialists and forming a scientific advisory council, but he also worked tirelessly in the search for the causal genes by seeking out important patient samples and recruiting and encouraging scientists to pursue this elusive quest successfully. He had a passion for model airplanes, old cars, sharing stories, his many dogs over the years and his wife, Marie. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him and had the honor and privilege to work with him."

It is a testament to the man that his published papers are referenced in the latest Treatment Guidelines for CdLS, as published in Nature Reviews Genetics. He led the way for us all.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Marie and the rest of his family. Our thoughts are with you.

)))

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