In Memoriam:  Prof. Dr. med. Michael Beck

Prof. Dr. med. Michael Beck

Obituary – Georg Schetter

Shortly before this year’s Family Conference, we received the sad news that Prof. Dr. Michael Beck passed away unexpectedly on 6.9.2022.

Michael Beck would have been at the Family Conference as he has been for so many years. He would have taken part in the panel discussion this year, he would have had many conversations as always. Together we would have celebrated and we would have toasted his 75th birthday. All that has now turned out quite differently.

We have all been deeply affected by the unexpected death of Michael Beck. Many know Michael Beck because of his work as an outstanding physician – the “Villa Metabolica” will always be associated with his name – , as a teacher of many such wonderful doctors who are at our side today, and not least as a human being.

Today, so many things seem self-evident to us. There are therapies, new therapeutic approaches, an active research community and a vibrant MPS Society. In 1986, the year we were founded, things looked very different. Back then, there was nothing. Scientists and doctors had to be won over to deal with these so rare disease patterns, to do research and to develop therapies. Patient care had to be established and the enthusiasm of young doctors for metabolic diseases had to be awakened, as well as teaching had to be built up. Michael Beck has played a decisive and driving role in ensuring that an international community of scientists, doctors and MPS sufferers has dedicated itself to the topic of MPS. We cannot thank Michael Beck enough for this. Behind it all is not only a scientific and medical interest and a vocation. There is also an enormous private commitment behind it. For example, Michael Beck had a very special connection to us as the MPS Society, because he had been on the board of the MPS Society for many years in various positions since 1988.

It has affected us all deeply that Micheal Beck passed away so unexpectedly and so early. We have lost one of the great and important personalities of our German and international MPS community.

Dear Michael, we owe you so much. We miss you. You will always have a firm place in our community.

Yours, Georg, on behalf of the German MPS Society

In Memoriam: Prof. Dr. Eduard Paschke

Prof. Dr. Eduard Paschke – 04.05.1949-14.07.2022

Obituary – Barbara Plecko – Silvija Tokic – Werner Windischhofer

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with great sadness that, we wish to inform you that Prof. Eduard Paschke died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 14th. We still can hardly believe his sudden death.

Eduard received his PhD in 1975 in clinical biochemistry in Prof. Hans Kresse ́s Lab at the Institute of Medical Chemistry in Graz, Austria. In 1979 he followed him to Münster where his research work focused on lysosomal metabolism. After returning to Graz in 1982 he founded the Laboratory of Metabolic Diseases at the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in close collaboration with Prof. Adelbert A. Roscher, Prof. Sylvia Stöckler and Prof. Wolfgang Erwa. From 1987 on he was the head of the research group for Biochemistry and Inborn errors of metabolism at our Children ́s University Hospital in Graz.

In the 1990s, Eduard made significant contributions to the molecular characterization of GM1 gangliosidosis versus Morquio B disease. For many years, actually decades, Eduard Paschke participated and contributed to the annual meeting of the Austrian MPS society, in collaboration and friendship with Michaela Weigl, Prof. Susanne Kircher and the MPS community. Eduard thus exemplified translational research long before this term was coined. He also had the foresight to implement genetic diagnostics and analytical techniques in the mid-nineties, along mass spectrometry for the determination of new biomarkers at our diagnostic laboratory in cooperation with Prof. Wolfgang Erwa and PD Günter Fauler. This enabled a comprehensive view of the individual patient’s phenotype, the metabolite pattern, residual enzyme activity and underlying genotype. His last active professional years until his retirement in 2014 he devoted to a joint research project with Prof. Tanja Wrodnigg and Prof. Arnold Stütz (Univ. of Technology Graz) on the development of
pharmacological chaperones as a mutation-specific therapy for lysosomal diseases. Concerning his employees, Eduard always had an open mind and heart as well as high social competence for the creation of new perspectives.

An unforgettable highlight of Eduard’s academic vita was the organization of the World MPS Conference in Vienna in 1999 together with Prof. Susanne Kircher and lastly the ESGLD Meeting in Seggau in 2013 as a farewell to the international LSD community.

As a private person Eduard was always in a good mood and very approachable. He preferred to spend the summers in his Greek adopted country, together with his beloved wife Dagmar and his three children and grandchildren. They have our deepest sympathy.

We will miss Eduard very much, not only in Graz, but certainly also in the circle of the Austrian working group for inborn errors of metabolism, and we will always honor his service to our department and to LSD patients and families. Eduard’s work in highly specialized lab-diagnostics and basic research will be continued with full enthusiasm by his successors and the whole team at our metabolic center.

On behalf of the entire Graz metabolism team,
Barbara Plecko, Silvija Tokic, Werner Windischhofer