Honoring a Father's Memory
Hiramoto Family Contributes to Microbiology Fund
For more than 35 years, Raymond N. Hiramoto, M.D.,served UAB with distinction as a senior scientist and professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology until his death in 2002. Highly respected by his colleagues and students, he earned national and international recognition for his research and contributions in cancer immunology, the immunology of aging, and the immune and nervous systems.
Hiramoto’s son, Gary, honors his father’s legacy by continuing to contribute to the Raymond N. Hiramoto Endowment for Microbiology. Established in 2002 by Dr. Hiramoto’s beloved wife of more than 50 years, Nancy, and Vithal K. Ghanta, Ph.D, who trained under Dr. Hiramoto, the fund pays tribute to the noted immunologist. Nancy passed away in 2004, but family and friends have continued to contribute to the fund in memory of both Dr. and Mrs. Hiramoto.
Gary Hiramoto’s ongoing support, along with that of his sister, Susan Murray, helps build the fund’s corpus so more money is available. “Research is the foundation upon which new discoveries are made that aid America’s future growth and development,” Gary says. “We should not dim our vision of the future in these tough economic times. I believe the endowment is important because it is set up to directly aid a student or students to start or advance down a career path of microbiology. Cancerclaimed the lives of both my parents as well as a brother, as it has touched the lives of many families. My father was highly motivated and devoted to conducting research in immunology, cancer, and aging. I believe every bit of funding for and recognition of the endowment pays off many times to help develop our next generation of American scientists who seek better understanding, treatments, and cures for diseases such as cancer.”
Earnings from the endowment are used to support travel awards for microbiology graduate students to attend meetings, workshops, and advanced courses offered by scientific societies and other organizations. Several stipends of up to $1,000 each are awarded annually to help defray the cost of attending these events.
“In addition to being dedicated to his research, Dr. Hiramoto was exceptionally devoted to the teaching of young, developing scientists,” says David Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology. “The generosity and vision of his family and friends in establishing this endowment now permits 10 to 12 graduate students each year to present their work at a national or international scientific meeting. This is an outstanding opportunity for each of them to expand their scientific vision and to progress in their independent career development. I can’t imagine a tribute that would make Dr. Hiramoto more proud.”
Gary adds, “My next goal with the endowment is to sustain an annual scholarship. My father and mother would be happy to know that the research work and teachings that he and Dr. Ghanta performed in their years at UAB would afford students the opportunity to carry out the challenges of discovery in research and education.”