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Montreal Gazette - January, 2003

Dr. Yogesh Chandra Patel

A private funeral service was held on January 10th for Dr. Yogesh Chandra Patel, physician and researcher, who died at home January 8th, surrounded by his family. Cause of death was cancer.

At the time of his death, he was head of the Endocrinology Division of the McGill University Hospital Center (MUHC), and director of the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Fraser Laboratories for research in diabetes.

Born in 1942 in the Fiji Islands, Dr Patel completed his medical degree at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, and his PhD in Neuroendocrinology. at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. After training in Boston, Mass., and Geneva, Switzerland, he settled in Montreal in 1977 with his wife, Vimla and two sons, Sunil and Camille to start his 25-year career with McGill University.

A rare physician-scientist combination, he loved both the clinical and scientific aspects of his work. His research interests included all aspects of the functional biology of the hormone, somatostatin. He was the author of two books and numerous scientific articles on the subject.

Dr Patel was a member of the Order of Canada. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a winner of its McLaughlin gold metal for excellence in biomedical research. In 2001, he won the Medical Research Council of Canada’s Distinguished Scientist Award.

A memorial service will be held at McGill University on February 17th. In lieu of flowers, Donations may be made out to the “Dr. Y. C. Patel Memorial Fund” and sent to the Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation Office, Room H4-33, 687 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1, Canada.


Royal Society of Canada - January, 2006

Yogesh C. Patel, MD, PhD, FACP, FRACP(c), FRSC, OC
(1942-2003)

A private funeral service was held on January 10th, 2003 for Dr. Yogesh Chandra Patel, physician and scientist, who died at home in Montreal on January 8th, surrounded by his family. The cause of death was cancer.

At the time of his death, he was Professor of Medicine, Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, chair of the Endocrinology Division of the McGill University Hospital Center (MUHC), and director of the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Fraser Laboratories for research in diabetes. Dr Patel was elected Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1993 and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 1994. He was recipient of the McLaughlin gold medal for excellence in biomedical research. In 2002, he won the Medical Research Council of Canada’s Distinguished Scientist Award and in the same year was invested as a member of the Order of Canada

Born on May 9th, 1942 in the Fiji Islands, Yogesh was the third child in an aristocratic family of ten children. He was the first “Fiji-Indian” to win a full scholarship to attend medical school in New Zealand. He completed his medical degree at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand. I met Yogesh at the medical school and we married and moved to Melbourne, Australia, where he completed his PhD in Neuroendocrinology at Monash University. After completing his PhD, he was awarded Australia’s most prestigious overseas scholarship, a CJ Martin Fellowship of the National Health and Medical Research Council, to work at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. After training in Boston and Geneva, Switzerland, the family settled in Montreal in 1977 to start his 25-year career at McGill University. McGill afforded him the opportunity to work at an institution that was equally committed to cutting-edge biomedical science and to the delivery of first-rate medical care. Yogesh was not only a distinguished scientist of the highest order, but an exceptionally talented physician with great bedside manner and devoted patients.

Dr. Richard Cruess, a former Dean of Medicine at McGill, was quoted as saying. “He was part of the changing face of Canadian science, whose background was truly international and who became a very devoted Canadian. He was compassionate, kind and a man of enormous integrity.” Fellow scientists and other leaders in his field recognize him as a creative scientist with a great inquisitive mind. They knew him as a charming, good-natured gentleman whose findings have enormous implications for drug design.

Yogesh was indisputably a pioneer in the field of somatostatin research. He made outstanding original contributions to our understanding of the basic and applied functions of this peptide hormone and was recognized as a foremost international authority on somatostatin and its receptor family that regulate cell functions and govern both motor activities and emotional states. He published over 200 scientific articles and illuminated virtually every aspect of somatostatin function including its biosynthesis, post-translational processing, gene regulation, metabolism, mechanism of action, and its dysfunction in diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegeneration. He developed one of the earliest radioimmunoassays for somatostatin and was the first to report that the hormone was released from nerve endings and thus subserved a neurotransmitter function in the brain. He discovered that two totally different receptors in the brain could exchange messages and cross talk with each other. His research has been extended into the clinical domain through the application of somatostatin receptor analysis in cancer and the use of somatostatin analogs for tumor diagnosis and therapy guided by somatostatin-receptor imaging. His publications have collectively received over 7800 citations. He was also the author of two books.

At the time of his death, Yogesh was at the pinnacle of his career and the height of his powers as a scientist and clinician. He continued to break new ground until his death, bringing together all of his earlier work on the biology of somatostatin and somatostatin receptors to help to understand the molecular pathogenesis of somatostatin dysfunction in maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. A rare physician-scientist combination, he loved both the clinical and scientific aspects of his work. He was a devoted mentor to many fellows and graduate students, several of whom have become internationally recognized scholars.

Although all of these contributions and honours will surely preserve the memory of Yogesh Patel as a great scientist, his colleagues, friends and family will remember him as a man with outstanding personal qualities. Yogesh was known for his infectious enthusiasm, charm and gregariousness, as well as his love of art and music. He was a kind, gentle man, and a loving husband and a wonderful father to our two sons, Sunil and Camille. He enjoyed the admiration of many people in Canada and beyond. He is deeply missed not only by his family and friends, but also by the scientific community at large. To me the personal loss is immense.

Vimla L. Patel, PhD, DSc(hc), FRSC
Columbia University, New York


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