In Memory of Laure Aurelian, PhD, 1939-2021

Former Senior Advisor for Faculty Development

Dr. Laure Aurelian was born in 1939 in Bucharest, Romania. When she was five, her family escaped numerous bombings during World War II to seek refuge in Israel. With only one bag each for their personal possessions, Dr. Aurelian and her family began a new life on a kibbutz. As a teenager, she became a translator to Paula Ben-Gurion, wife of former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

She was among the first students to attend the then newly developed Tel-Aviv University, where she earned her Master of Science degree in Microbiology. Dr. Aurelian was also the first woman to receive a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her first appointment was at Johns Hopkins, where she reached the professor level in 1983. That year she also joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her research interests focused on virology, immunology and cellular and molecular biology, with emphasis on cancer and neuroscience. In 2013, Dr. Aurelian accepted the position of Senior Advisor for Faculty Development in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity at Stanford Medicine. She received her first R01 award in 1970 and was continuously supported by NIH grants as Professor of Pharmacology and Microbiology at the University of Maryland Medical School.

Dr. Aurelian served on standing study sections reviewing R01, PO1 and K award applications. She was the author of over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and the inventor of 14 US and foreign patents and trained over 60 postdoctoral and 37 predoctoral fellows, virtually all of whom hold academic positions. In her role as Senior Advisor at Stanford Medicine, she mentored over 80 Stanford Medicine faculty. Her success rate to date with Stanford Medicine faculty applying for grants is 94% upon first submission. She served as honorary professor in European, Israeli, Japanese, and Chinese universities and received numerous international awards and honors. 

Dr. Aurelian's passion for helping faculty with their grant applications was unwavering. She was tough and direct with her critiques but would often invite struggling mentees to her home for dinner and then work tirelessly with them to get it right. Irreverent,  forthright, brilliant and kind, Dr. Aurelian was a cherished mentor who transformed the careers of so many junior faculty - or as she often called them, her kids. Her toughness, courage, and wit were matched in equal measure with generosity, encouragement and warmth.

We will miss Dr. Aurelian as a pioneering woman scientist, an irreplaceable colleague, proud and loving mother and grandmother, and loyal and generous friend.

To learn more about Dr. Aurelian visit the University of Maryland School of Medicine's In Memoriam Announcement