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Eng Meng Tan
  1. Edward K L Chan1,
  2. K Michael Pollard2,
  3. Marvin J Fritzler3
  1. 1Oral Biology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  2. 2Molecular Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA
  3. 3Medicine, University of Calgary, Health Sciences Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Marvin J Fritzler, Medicine, Health Sciences Centre, Calgary, Canada; fritzler{at}

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Eng Meng Tan, MD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular Medicine of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, passed away on 9 March 2024, at the age of 97 years. He was an exceptional clinical research scientist whose lifelong research career was distinguished by numerous seminal studies that uncovered the clinical and diagnostic importance of autoantibodies and their cognate autoantigens in systemic rheumatic and other diseases. Tan, the eldest of a family of eight brothers and two sisters, was born in Malaysia when it was still a British Colony. His intellectual prowess was evident early when he attained the highest score for the Senior English Nationwide Exam in the final year of high school. This became his ‘ticket’ to the USA for higher education because it ensured a full scholarship for his acceptance to attend Johns Hopkins University where he received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1952 and an Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1956. He and his family credit the guidance of his paternal grandmother, a midwife nurse by training in Malaysia, with his career choice in medicine. For his generation, an influential grandmother could advise a receptive child on a career pathway and he would be open to the idea and followed through with it.1

After completing medical school, he was an intern at Duke University Medical Center followed by 3 years of residency training in Internal Medicine at Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland. Following 2 years of research fellowship training in Professor Melvin Kaplan’s laboratory in Cleveland (Ohio, USA), he joined the laboratory of Professor Henry G Kunkel at The Rockefeller University (New York, USA) in 1962. It was there that his lifelong interest in the immunology of rheumatic diseases began. While studying antibodies to DNA in systemic lupus …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors All authors contributed to information gathering, compiling, writing, editing and reviewing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.