EFI medal 2019 - Laureate Marcel Tilanus

The EFI medal is awarded annually by the EFI Executive Committee to recognize the achievements of individuals, who during the course of their career, have made a significant contribution to EFI. During the EFI meeting in Lisbon, it was announced that this year’s recipient of the EFI medal is Marcel Tilanus from Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Marcel started his career as a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Jon van Rood, where he introduced molecular assays for the characterization of the polymorphisms of the HLA molecules. Until that time HLA typing was only performed with serological methods. His research in Leiden resulted in a thesis entitled: “DNA analysis of the HLA system”. In the following years Marcel played a pivotal role in the development and introduction of molecular typing methods in the HLA field. He was the chairman of the SBT component of the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th International Histocompatibility Workshop and guided several PhD students. The results of his research were published in more than 200 papers in peer reviewed journals.

After his initial research in Leiden, he continued his work in Wageningen and Utrecht, the Netherlands and was finally appointed as a full professor at the University of Maastricht. Furthermore, he received an honorary professorship at the blood center of the Shenzhen University in China.

His major contributions to EFI are reflected by his membership of the EFI Council (2003-2004) and his role as a secretary of the EFI board (2004-2010). Marcel was also the local organizer and chairman of the EFI meeting in 2013, which took place in Maastricht.

For all these reasons, the EFI medal handed over to Marcel during the General Assemble in Lisbon was a well-deserved honour!