Ricardo Renzo Brentani, the former Director of the Sao Paulo Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd (LICR), passed away suddenly on November 29, 2011. Ricardo was born in Trieste, Italy, in July 1937 and moved to Brazil as an infant. He studied medicine and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School where since 1981 he was the first full professor of oncology at a Brazilian university. In 1983 Ricardo became the founding Director of the Sao Paulo Branch, a post he held until 2005.
Throughout his tenure as Branch Director, Ricardo created an ideal research environment for independent research groups that made important contributions to the fields of epidemiology, immunology, cellular biology, genetics and genomics in Brazil. In addition to his role as the Director of the Ludwig Branch in Sao Paulo, Ricardo was the head of the Hospital do Câncer, where the Branch was located, serving as the President of the Antônio Prudente Foundation.
Ricardo was strongly engaged in numerous other research activities and became the President of the Board of Trustees of FAPESP, one of the major research funding agencies in Brazil, in 2004. Upon his retirement from LICR, Ricardo was awarded the D.K. Ludwig Medal for his services to the Institute. He was a Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science and a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Brazilian Order of Scientific Merit. Ricardo remained actively involved in research to the last day of his life as President of the Antônio Prudente Foundation and the Director of the International Center for Research and Teaching of the Hospital A.C. Camargo which he created.
“Ricardo was a great scientific leader who contributed significantly to the advancement of cancer research in Brazil. He was also a mentor to young researchers. He will always be remembered for his vast scientific knowledge, strong and visionary personality, as well as for his curiosity and insatiable thirst for knowledge. He will be sorely missed,” said Dr. Anamaria Camargo, the current Head of the Sao Paulo Branch.
The Sao Paulo Branch of the LICR was created and developed under his supervision and reached international respect because of his contributions and vision,” said Dr. Luisa Villa, former Director of the Sao Paulo Branch.
“Ricardo often stated that his primary goal was to train young scientists. He was remarkably successful in this regard with the careers of several generations of current Brazilian cancer researchers having been directly or indirectly influenced by his guidance. His founding of the post-graduate program at the A.C. Camargo Hospital set an important precedent for the execution of research training in Sao Paulo outside the university setting,” added Dr. Andrew Simpson, Scientific Director of LICR and LICR Member at the Sao Paulo Branch under Ricardo Brentani.