1946 – 2021
We share sad news with the ACTG family that John G. Gerber, M.D., passed away on February 6, 2021.
John was born in Budapest, Hungary. He attended Queens College in Flushing, New York. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA, where he also completed his residency in internal medicine. He trained in two postdoctoral NIH fellowships at the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, and at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. He joined the faculty in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology in 1978 and was promoted rapidly to Associate Professor and then full Professor. In 1993, John turned his focus to infectious diseases and HIV, following his passion to complete a clinical fellowship in infectious diseases he became board certified in Infectious Diseases and received an appointment in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
John was an outstanding physician, scientist and educator. His research was focused on pharmacology at both the basic science and clinical level. Broadly, John was interested in drug metabolism and aging. His early work focused on cardiovascular pharmacology, including work with prostaglandins, histamine analogs and beta-adrenergic blockers. He pursued questions of the influence of age and gender on drug effects, and stereoselective drug metabolism, which he subsequently carried over to his work in HIV. John led clinical pharmacologic studies of pharmacokinetic interactions between HIV protease inhibitors and statins, the role of protein binding, stereoselective metabolism of methadone, and antiretroviral drug pharmacokinetics in persons with hepatic dysfunction. He authored more than 160 papers in scientific journals. He used his research program, in his career as a scientist and physician, to learn and to teach other health professionals how to make drugs better and safer in humans. In particular, John was an excellent mentor. He was always encouraging of young scientists in pharmacology, helping them navigate their career path, and providing them with many scientific ideas and opportunities.
John’s work in HIV pharmacology and pharmacotherapy made an important difference in improving treatment and the lives of persons living with HIV infection. He was actively involved in the clinical trials of the ACTG, serving as both protocol chair and clinical pharmacologist. He was a highly valued member of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group’s Pharmacology Committee and served as Vice Chair and then Chair of the Committee; he also served as a member of the SASC. His pharmacology expertise was recognized and put to good use when he was invited to serve as a member of the Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee for the FDA.
John was a loyal and kind friend to many and a devoted godfather to Sam Keene. He especially enjoyed socializing with his colleagues and friends. He loved a good dinner with wine (always red!), with the conversation flowing about his three passions of poker, horse racing and tennis. He enthusiastically enjoyed his retirement in Palm Springs where he expanded his friendships and played tennis frequently. We will all cherish the time we had with John.
-Courtney Fletcher, PharmD; Elizabeth Connick, MD; Edward Acosta, PharmD; Jennifer Kiser, PharmD, PhD; Peter Anderson, PharmD; Angela Kashuba, PharmD; Jane Oppenheim, MPH; Robert “Chip” Schooley, MD; Constance Benson, MD