In Memoriam: Dieter Gruenert, PhD

Long-time UCSF Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery faculty member, Dieter Gruenert, PhD, passed away on April 9, 2016.

Dr. Gruenert received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from UC Berkeley in 1982 and was a postdoctoral fellow (1982-1984) in the Department of Carcinogenesis at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne, Switzerland. He first came to UCSF in 1986, where he pioneered many of the human cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cell lines used in research around the world.

At UCSF School of Medicine and Medical Center, he instructed young physicians and participated in facial nerve research and the early research, which led to the development of the cochlear implant. “Dr. Dieter Gruenert was especially talented at mentoring young scientists and students. He was always excited to bring medical students, graduate students, post docs, residents, and other faculty into his projects,” noted Chair Dr. Andrew Murr. “He was extraordinarily generous with his time when it came to teaching.”

From 1992-1999, he was the Co-Director of the UCSF Gene Therapy Core Center. In 2000, he left UCSF to join the University of Vermont as a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Human Molecular Genetics.

In 2003, Dr. Gruenert found his way back to the Bay Area to take the position of Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. In 2010, Dr. Gruenert returned to UCSF to rejoin UCSF as a professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery where he focused his research on human cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Gruenert had inspired many people with his enthusiastic, kind, and gentle heart. UCSF and the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery will miss a wonderful individual who was talented and devoted to his profession.