Dr. Robert A. Good's Legacy Lives on at the UMN Medical School's Center for Immunology

An esteemed physician, researcher and educator, Robert A. Good, left a tremendous legacy on those whose lives he touched.

Originally from Crosby, Minnesota, Good graduated with both an MD and PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1947.

From there, he went on to document the importance of the thymus gland, shed light on the function of the tonsils and perform the first ever successful bone marrow transplant. He was also the first– and last– individual from the University of Minnesota Medical School to be elected into the National Academy of Sciences.

Today, Good is often referred to as the ‘founder of modern immunology.’

Several years ago, Tucker LeBien, PhD, Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Associate Vice President for Research in the Academic Health Center, was walking around the top floor of the Variety Club Research Center.

“I saw this big door that said ‘Robert A. Good Pediatric Infectious Disease Laboratory’ and I thought, ’this belongs in a museum,’” LeBien recalls.

A while later, he was having a conversation with his colleague and close friend, Marc Jenkins, PhD, Director of the Center for Immunology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, when the topic of the door resurfaced.

“We walked over there and it took him about one second to realize that we had to do something to preserve this,” said LeBien.

From there, the two discussed what the best option for preservation would be.

“I suggested we move it over here to the Center of Immunology, and then use it as part of the entryway in our space; and since it is literally a door, we can call it the ‘Door to Discovery.’ We could put Robert’s picture on it and then permanently preserve this piece of history,” recalls Jenkins.

Today, the door lives on the second floor of the Winston and Maxine Wallin Medical Biosciences Building– nearby the Center for Immunology, where it serves as an inspiration to those who walk by.

“This is something to be proud of. This is someone who had a career one could aspire to– it’s like an inspirational object. Every day, students walk by that thing and I hope that some of them think ‘maybe I could be next Robert Good and achieve great things like that,’” says Jenkins.

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