It was with great sadness that we learned that Leo Richard Zacharski, MD, passed away on August 23, 2019 at the age of 81.
Leo attended Wayne State University and then received his MD degree in 1962 from Wayne State Medical School in Detroit. He served an internship at Harper Hospital in Detroit followed by a residency in internal medicine and subspecialty training in hematology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He served as a Captain in the US Army Medical Corp from 1966 to 1968. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and Staff Physician at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont in January 1970. He specialized in diagnosis and treatment of patients with bleeding and clotting disease, and also iron overload disease. While early motivations were toward medical missions, the heart of his career was devotion to biomedical research believing that he could best serve humanity through discovery and innovation. He was awarded Research Career Development positions at the VA hospital and became the Associate Chief of Staff for Research there in 1985, a position held until retirement from the VA in 2004. During his tenure with the VA he authored over 250 published papers and over 100 abstracts. He served as Chairman of three National VA Cooperative Studies. He achieved the rank of Professor of Medicine in 1985 and became Professor of Medicine Active Emeritus in 2013. Devotion to his “calling” prompted continuation of his research following retirement. His most productive years followed retirement during which he coined the term, “ferrotoxic disease”, referring to diseases of aging caused by oxidative stress due to progressive iron accumulation. He was a member of the American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, International BioIron Society and East-West Iron Club; and served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Iron Disorders Institute (irondisorders.org). His personal Christian faith prompted deep appreciation of the elegant intricacy and beauty of the “natural order” which was the basis for his devotion to biomedical research.
Xi Huang, Ph.D.
Founder and President