Taubman Scholars reflect on A. Alfred Taubman

The mission of the Taubman Institute is to support eminent clinician-scientists — doctors taking on the dual role of physician and laboratory researcher in their zeal to speed new cures and treatments to their patients.  

Taubman Scholar grants allow these dedicated healers the freedom they need to pursue “high-risk, high-reward” science that in a few short years has led to more than 50 human clinical trials of new therapies.

Here, the Taubman Scholars share their reflections on the extraordinary contributions that Alfred Taubman has made to the future of medical science.

The Taubman Institute that is the refection of Mr. Taubman’s unselfishness has enabled a line of scientific inquiry that would not have occurred otherwise. Mr. Taubman and I had two one-on-one conversations, the first when he came to my office to consider my application as a Scholar, and the second more recently. On both occasions he inspired me with his determination, forward looking approach and kindness. I am forever grateful to have had the chance to know him and his family.


Thomas Gardner, M.D., M.S.
Healthy Eyes Taubman Scholar
Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Director, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Retinopathy Center



To me, the Taubman Institute represents a celebration of a life well-lived, and a deep desire to make a difference for the good of the world. Mr. Taubman was always a visionary, striving to invent and reinvent. He was amazingly successful at that. I’m fortunate to have made Mr. Taubman's acquaintance, and am very proud to be part of the Taubman Institute.


Alon Kahana, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Helmut F. Stern Professor
Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan



When one has an inspiration to further high risk, high reward translational science, and operationalizes it, it has the most meaning for those patients who ultimately benefit from that inspiration and kindness. Mr. Taubman’s inspiration has motivated young as well as established scientists to heed his call to provide help for those afflicted with disease. The world is in a better place through that inspiration.


John M. Carethers, M.D.
John G. Searle Professor and Chair
Department of Internal Medicine



Mr. Taubman supported the research in my laboratory. He took the time to listen to me and to encourage the progress we were making towards better treatments for people who were infected with HIV. He helped me and the trainees in my lab. I am grateful for this and I am honored to have known him. He will be greatly missed.


Kathleen Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine Collegiate Professor of HIV Research
Professor of Internal Medicine
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology



Alfred was a great and inspiring man. The establishment of the Taubman Institute was grounded in his desire to end human suffering from diseases including dementia, Lou Gehrig's disease, and childhood cancer. I am grateful to have met him. His kindness and passion for science to improve the human condition were both inspiring and a great motivator for me and my research team.


Valerie P. Castle, M.D.
Chair, Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
Ravitz Foundation Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases

Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology



I got to know Mr. Taubman about four years ago when I was being considered to become a Taubman Scholar. I showed him our work in treating liver tumors with a unique radiation therapy approach and was amazed at how quickly he understood the concepts and of the quality of the questions he asked. He was 100 percent on target and very perceptive.


In addition to his well-known passion for architecture and for building, he had a keen mind and depth of insight well beyond what I would expect from the average intelligent lay person. Maybe it is because radiation therapy depends on three dimensional thinking, and his "architectural brain" was already trained that way.

He will be missed.


Theodore S Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., FASCO, FASTRO
Max S. Wicha M.D. Distinguished Professor of Oncology
Director, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology



Alfred Taubman's vision in creating the Taubman Medical Institute has been transformative. His generosity has allowed us to form the collaborations and pursue the type of high risk-high reward research that is critical to advance our field.


Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Bioinformatics
Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute



It is difficult to convey what Mr. Taubman did for me, personally, to push forward new lines of research in my own lab. I was fortunate to have lunch with Mr. Taubman last year at his office, where his curiosity about many things, including science, was on full display – impressive indeed! I saw firsthand his deep commitment to spur Taubman Scholars toward new insights into human disease and, from that knowledge, better therapies. Mr. Taubman made, and will continue to make, a major impact on what many of us do in our labs and at the bedside.


Henry L. Paulson, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neurology
Lucille Groff Professor of Neurology



Some men and women achieve immortality. It may be through the memory and deeds of their children. It may be through the legacy of their work. It may be through the achievements of others that they have made possible.


A. Alfred Taubman, mentor, patron, and friend to so many of us, achieves immortality through each of these. Through the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Institute, which Alfred and his family founded and support, and in which I am a scholar, physician-scientists are finding meaningful treatments for the most difficult neurological diseases of our time—ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and stroke.


Ongoing initiatives, which helped and continue to help scores of patients with terrible disease, were always front-and-center in our conversations. Alfred’s insightful and incisive questions, his encouragement and support to break through barriers and challenges, and his shared delight in what we have achieved, never failed to inspire. He uniquely provided both the faith that makes the seemingly impossible possible and the critical resources to make it happen.


He has been a giant, on whose shoulders we can all stand. I will miss Alfred as a mentor and as a friend, I will remember him for his curiosity and his warmth and his unwavering support, and my patients will thank him for all that he has made possible, for the rest of our days. For who he has been and for what he has done, A. Alfred Taubman is truly immortal.


Parag G. Patil, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Biomedical Engineering


I am deeply saddened by our loss of Mr. Taubman. Since the beginning of my academic career in medicine he has inspired me in countless ways. The admiration that I have for him lies not only in his overwhelming support of me and my lab efforts, but by his compassion and his unyielding desire to change to world. I will miss him dearly. His legacy will live on through us all.

 Erika Newman, MD, FAAP, FACS
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery
Surgical Director, Mott Solid Tumor Oncology Program (MSTOP)


His vision and tremendous generosity for supporting research has touched many, including me. He has left an indelible legacy here at Michigan and I will personally remember him for his wit, curiosity and genuine interest in knowing about my own and others research. An irreplaceable loss, my heart and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.


Pavan Reddy, M.D.

Moshe Talpaz Professor of Translational Oncology

Professor of Medicine

Co-Director, Hematological Malignancies and BMT Program

Associate Division Chief, Hematology-Oncology




The support from Mr. Tubman and the Emerging Scholars Program has been instrumental in my ability to advance translational research and I am so greatful for his amazing generosity.  He will be sorely missed, but his vision for research advancement will live on through all those whom his gifts have touched.

 Katherine A. Gallagher, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Surgery




What I felt after all of my interactions with Alfred was his joy of accomplishment.  He always seemed to have such a positive attitude.   Whether he was talking about his career or the next thing he was going to do in life, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that he couldn’t do it.  It was infectious. 

Charles F. Burant, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism
Professor of Internal Medicine
Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology



Mr. Taubman was an extraordinary pioneer, innovator and visionary and I had the good fortune to first meet him in 2011 when I joined the Taubman Medical Research Institute as an Emerging Scholar.  Of the discussions I’ve had with Mr. Taubman over the years, several of which incidentally were on salmon fishing in my home country Iceland, I have always been struck by his inquisitive mind and openness.  Through his vision the work that he has enabled at the Taubman Medical Research Institute will have a world-wide impact in the years and decades to come. Thank you Mr. Taubman for all you have done

Johann Gudjonsson, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dermatology



Mr. Taubman’s generosity and commitment to the University of Michigan has impacted my every phase of my career, beginning as a medical student studying in the Taubman Library or seeing patients in the Taubman Health Care Center to starting my laboratory in the A. Alfred Taubman Basic Sciences Research Building. More recently, being named the A. Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar allowed me to get to know Mr. Taubman and experience firsthand his commitment to the University, young clinician scientists, and translational research that can directly impact patients.



 Scott Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D.

The A. Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar

Assistant Professor, Pathology




Help Us Make A Difference. Make A Donation That Could Save Lives.

Make A Gift