Dick Heinegård (1942–2013)

Dick at the summer school in Lund, May 2012.

With deep sadness we heard of the sudden death of our colleague Dick Heinegård who passed away on May 1, 2013 at the age of 70. Dick Heinegård, Ph.D., M.D., Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Lund, Sweden, was the foremost international authority on the structure and function of extracellular matrix of tissues. He was deeply interested in understanding the biology and pathology of diseases involving the musculo-skeletal system, particularly with regard to cartilage. Dick became a partner of the research project NanoDiaRA in 2010, funded by the Seventh European Framework Programme. He chaired workpackage 3a, whose objective is the development of new molecular indicators for early rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis like specific cell binding structures, antibodies targeting specific disease-related molecules and their degradation, and peptides domains that bind to tissue proteins.

Dick, together with NanoDiaRA’s scientific advisor, was the backbone of this project, knowing all about cell and molecular biology of cartilage and its pathology in regard to arthritis. The summer school that Dick organized in Lund in May 2012 was arguably the educational highlight of the project, giving both young and established investigators the opportunity to immerse themselves in a discussion of the universe of extracellular matrix, and the cells which create and destroy it. This biological universe needed a person like Dick who worked for over 40 years to describe and understand its structure and function and developed new tools for its study in patients with arthritis.  He was always prepared to answer all kinds of questions of the trainees and researchers, always with the deep understanding and calmness of a person who likes to help and support young scientists.  

Dick Heinegård was an extremely well-known scientist who was the recipient of very many prestigious scientific awards including the Steindler Award (Orthopedic Research Society), the EULAR Award (European League Against Rheumatism), the Basic Science Award (Osteoarthritis Research Society International), as well as number of awards in Scandinavia including the Jahre prize for medical research. He was a member of many scientific advisory boards to which he brought his considerable knowledge and wisdom. He trained many of today’s scientific leaders.

Dick published several hundred peer-reviewed papers in the most prestigious journals and contributed 50 book chapters/reviews. He served as an editor and in editorial boards for several journals in general biochemistry as well as in the field of connective tissue biology and pathology.

Dick was a great partner, colleague and friend, and we miss him deeply. Our thoughts of this wonderful man are with his family and friends. 

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Final Project Group Meeting in Leuven

19 February, 2014
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NANOFOL – NanoDiaRA Conference in the 7th Framework Programme

20–21 November, 2013
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Public conference: Nanoparticles for early diagnostics of inflammatory diseases - new approaches in the field of soft and hard nanoparticles

20–21 November, 2013
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Administrative Coordination

Priv.-Doz. Dr. med. Felix Thiele, M. Sc.
Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH
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Margarethe Hofmann-Amtenbrink Dr.-Ing.
Mat Search Consulting Hofmann

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Mat Search Consulting Hofmann