Dear ACS Community and Friends,
It is with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to Howard Shapiro one of all the greatest cytometrists of all time. He was one of the founding fathers (grandfathers) of cytometry making it what it is today.
The Australasian Cytometry Society embraced Howard and he became an honorary member of our in its early days. He made many trips across the pacific to join us at our annual conferences as well as teaching faculty at the Australasian Cytometry Workshops and Courses. In the last few years when it was hard for him to travel so far, he did not give up and continued to present and teach virtually (we had it down pat before it became popular due to the current pandemic).
One of Howards’ happiest memories of Australia is when he had an opportunity to fly a plane for the first time it was in far North Queensland after the ISAC congress on Hamilton Island. He was in awe of the Australian Sulphur crested cockatoo and its ability to break into his hotel room from the balcony and rummage looking for food and whatever else took its fancy.
He loved coming down under and we loved having him here. A quote from Howard as to one of the many reasons he was drawn to us “One thing I really admire about you Aussies is your low threshold for BS and your ability to detect it”.
At ISAC and CYTO congresses, we gave Howard an “Aussie pass” so he could join our Aussie/Kiwi parties. He was always great value especially with entertainment even more so when he had brought his guitar along.
Howard was so generous with his knowledge and was happy to share it with whoever approached him, he was able to answer any question or give advice regardless of the cytometry application. His capacity to store so much knowledge and superfast recall would have an answer back to you immediately. Most cytometry laboratories around the world will have at least one of the four editions of the cytometry bible “Practical Flow Cytometry” written by Howard.
His song There’s No Business Like Flow Business tells us how much he loved the cytometry world. (Sung to the tune of There’s no business like show business).
There’s No Business Like Flow Business
When Show Business is slow
Where else can you play around with high tech lasers, computers and cell clones
I go into the lab each day and tritech makes out with my tech it’s in my bones.
There’s No people Like Flow People
They smile were lights are low even when there’s mycoplasma in your cells and your laser smokes and emits bad smells.
Still you wouldn’t trade it for a stack of gels boo for PCR.
Well I know I wouldn’t I know.
His drive to address the need for global diseases such as malaria took on an extra passion for Howard in the last couple of decades of his life. He worked closely with people in our region as well as with clinicians from Papua New Guinea to help address the need to battle malaria. He engineered simple technology on the cheap to address the needs in resource poor countries with an aim for quick point of care diagnosis for malaria.
Howard you have and always will have a place in our hearts, you were more than a colleague you were our mate. Thank you for all you have taught us, all the happy memories you have given us your legacy will live on and on and on.
We will miss you so much.