Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

MONTO HO MARCH 28, 1927 - DEC. 9, 2013 BRILLIANT PITT MEDICAL RESEARCHER, ADMINISTRATOR [Corrected 01/02/14]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

MONTO HO MARCH 28, 1927 - DEC. 9, 2013 BRILLIANT PITT MEDICAL RESEARCHER, ADMINISTRATOR [Corrected 01/02/14]

Article excerpt

Monto Ho did not follow precisely in the footsteps of his father, a Chinese ambassador, but the eminent University of Pittsburgh virologist and infectious disease specialist had his own gift for diplomacy and views of how to make global contributions.

Dr. Ho, who came to Pittsburgh in 1959 with undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard, was held in such high regard here that he was in put in charge of three different departments at Pitt and UPMC simultaneously. During 38 years at the university, his work in researching and diagnosing disease contributed to advances in the fights against AIDS and organ transplant rejection, among other accomplishments.

For all the success that accompanied his work, which took him to his office and lab at Pitt at least six days a week for decades, his demeanor and dress were modest. His humility was such that he did everything possible to have his family ignore his birthdays and avoid other fuss, but there was no chance to hide his intellect from colleagues.

"I used to teach and tell students that all of us are average, and then there's Dr. Ho. He was the most brilliant person I ever met," said Dr. Robert Yee of Point Breeze, a friend and retired Pitt professor of microbiology.

Dr. Ho continued research work long after his formal retirement. The Upper St. Clair resident, who previously lived in Mt. Lebanon for many years, died Monday after complications from a fall. He was 86.

Born in the Hunan province of China, he was the son of Feng Shan Ho, who would serve as the Republic of China's ambassador to Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere. In the late 1930s, Dr. Ho's father was consul general in Vienna and was credited with issuing visas to hundreds of Jewish refugees to get them out of Nazi-controlled territory to Shanghai, when their lives would have otherwise been imperiled.

Dr. Ho's own dedication to his work, combined with skills at interpersonal relationships, led to his simultaneous appointments in charge of Pitt's department of microbiology, its division of infectious diseases and UPMC's diagnostic microbiology lab.

Dr. Charles Rinaldo, chairman of what is today known as Pitt's department of infectious diseases and microbiology, noted it now takes three people to fill the roles that Dr. …

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