In Memoriam: Syed Jalal, Ph.D.

Syed Jalal, Ph.D., passed away on Jan. 15, 2013 at Saint Marys Hospital of complications from an influenza infection and was laid to rest at Oak Wood Cemetery in Rochester, Minn. Jalal – as friends and colleagues knew him – was a Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and an icon in the cytogenetics community.

Syed Jalal, Ph.D.

Dr. Jalal moved from India to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his graduate education. He then moved to the University of North Dakota where he advanced to the rank of Professor of Biology. Dr. Gordon Dewald was among his doctoral students. In 1990, he was recruited by Dr. Dewald to Mayo Clinic where he joined Dr. Dewald and Dr. Robert Jenkins to co-direct the Cytogenetics Laboratory. Dr. Jalal directed the Clinical Cytogenetics fellowship program from its beginning in 2000 and was awarded Mayo Clinic Teacher of the Year in 1998-1999. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by Northern Michigan University.

Until his retirement in 2007, he collaborated widely with other scientists at Mayo Clinic and throughout the world, and published more than 130 book chapters and scientific papers.  With Jack Spurbeck, Dr. Jalal modified a Thermotron drying chamber for cytogenetic preparations. This invention is used by most cytogenetics laboratories around the world. These achievements, however, pale in the light of Jalal’s humble mentoring and close friendship that was treasured by so many of his students, technologists, and peers.

Dr. Jalal was a loving husband, father and grandfather and a kindhearted soul who took pains to help others. A passionate Minnesota Vikings follower, he also loved playing bridge and tennis. He is survived by his wife, Nikhat Jalal of Rochester, Minn., daughter, Shadeen Haque of Eagan, Minn., and his pride and joy, granddaughters Leila and Zaara. He was born and raised in India, but spent most of his adult life in the United States. According to his friends, Dr. Jalal belonged to a generation who achieved success through hard work and determination. He was always available for advice and encouraged others with his kind words. He will be missed by all whose life he touched.

A memorial service will be held  in Rochester on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 2:00 -4:00 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center, Riverview Halls C & D.

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