Aug. 23, 2018

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In memoriam: Julius M. Cruse Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Julius M. Cruse Jr. died Aug. 20 following complications from a long battle with cancer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was 81.


Cruse recently retired from UMMC after a professional tenure of almost 50 years. He served as Guyton Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Microbiology and as Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine. He formerly served as the first professor of immunology at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

Cruse graduated with B.A. and B.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of Mississippi in 1958. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Graz (Austria), where he received the D.Med.Sc. Degree summa cum laude in 1960. He received his M.D./Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Memphis.

Cruse became one of the most eminent immunologists of his time. His research centered on transplantation and tumor immunology, autoimmunity, MHC genetics in the pathogenesis of AIDS, and neuroendocrine-immune interactions. He received many research grants during his career and was an investigator of the Wilson Research Foundation, Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center.

He authored or co-authored more than 40 books and more than 300 scholarly articles in professional journals. Among his best-known works were the Illustrated Dictionary of Immunology and the Atlas of Immunology.

He was founding editor-in-chief of three international scientific journals: Immunologic Research, Pathobiology and Transgenics. He served as editor-in-chief of Experimental and Molecular Pathology and served on the editorial board of International Pathology and Human Immunology. 

At the Medical Center, Cruse was valued for his contributions to the life of the institution. He was a lifetime member of the Friends of Rowland Medical Library. He founded the Dean Billy S. Guyton Visiting Professorship in the History of Medicine and presented the fifth Guyton Lecture at the Medical Center. In his role as historian, he produced and recorded almost 50 oral history interviews of major luminaries who played pivotal roles in the establishment of the Medical Center. This project, “History Speaking,” serves as an extremely valuable resource for future historians of UMMC.

Visitation is scheduled from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, and from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at St. Columb’s Episcopal Church in Ridgeland. A Solemn High Mass will follow the Saturday visitation at 11 a.m. at St. Columb's.

Memorials may be made to the Julius M. Cruse Professorship at UMMC through the Office of Development or to St. Columb’s.