In Memory of Jörg Kleine-Tebbe

In Memory of Jörg Kleine-Tebbe

Dear colleagues and friends,

It is with much sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of our esteemed colleague, outstanding mentor and good friend Prof. Dr. Jörg Kleine-Tebbe. He passed away peacefully on 5 January 2023, after a serious illness, surrounded by his family and and closest friends.

Jörg had a long and illustrious career in medicine. He studied at the Medical Faculty of the Free University of Berlin and completed his specialization in allergology in 1986 at the Pneumological Outpatient Clinic and Department of Clinical Immunology at the Free University of Berlin. He subsequently joined the Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center in Baltimore (Division Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Prof. Larry Lichtenstein) as Visiting Scientist and Instructor in Medicine from 1991-1995.  After this transatlantic experience, Jörg Kleine-Tebbe became Senior Resident and Lecturer at the Clinic for Dermatology of the University Hospital Leipzig (1996-2001) where he habilitated in dermatology and venereology. After re-habilitating 2002 at Charité Berlin he became extraordinary professor here in 2017. In parallel, he passionately dedicated himself to allergy patients in his private practice at Allergy and Asthma Centre Westend for more than 20 years.

Jörg Kleine-Tebbe has combined science and its practical implementation in an exemplary and captivatingly enthusiastic manner. His broad interests included early works on allergen immunotherapy with its various forms of application, allergens, and protocols as well a wide range of publications on component-resolved diagnostics. He was among the first to recognise the potential of this new methodology and tirelessly brought clarity into the often-complex interrelationships of molecular allergology for clinicians and particularly young and/or aspiring allergists. He created formats to involve young colleagues in his fascination for allergology and joined and led numerous expert committees developing guidelines, textbooks, and practical guidance.

Besides his professional versatility, Jörg was always a welcome speaker, team member and guest who could enrich any kind of meeting with his creativity, musicality, and lightness. He was the creator of countless photo documentaries and smiles. With his band “Riff”, he often let the sparks of Latin Soul Jazz and well-known classics fly, mastering the (e-)piano even when his hands began to fail him.

We lose in Jörg a great colleague who dedicated himself with extraordinary passion to allergology, for this we thank him from the bottom of our hearts with the highest appreciation and our thoughts go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and many other people who accompanied him.

Memories & Messages from EAACI friends
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“I first met Jörg in 1989 when we were both young and already enthusiastic researchers at the European Histamine Research Society in Breda in 1989. Next to our combined scientific interest in basophils, we established a strong bond during that meeting when we were the ones finishing all the periwinkles (in Dutch alikruiken) of the fruit du mer that were served at that meeting dinner. The other participants were reluctant to eat these. Ever since that moment we have been in close contact, as fellows at Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center or all the activities within EAACI as colleagues, but mostly as friends. Next to science Jörg was a brilliant musician and active photographer. After meetings and at Christmas he always sent new photos and music to enlighten us. These are very warm in my heart. I will remember Jörg next to friend, musician and photographer as a brave and energetic researcher in our field. He has been very important by moving forward new developments in the allergy and allergy diagnostics area. Jörg did this always in a lively, energetic and even sometime almost relentless manner. He will be greatly missed. Wishing his wife Uta Bella, family and friends much strength in this difficult time”

Edward Knol

“I remember the first year Jörg was at the Asthma Center in Baltimore. At Christmas time I was afraid he would be sad and be missing his home. So I invited him to my parents’ celebration. They always had a huge get together. Well, I read the situation wrong and as it turned out, Jörg was the star that Christmas. Close to 40 years later Jörg’s name still gets mentioned at the holiday time. Missed but always remembered.”

Carol Bickel

“Jörg, such a great personality. Strong, clear- and open-minded, generous and extremely active, hard worker, original thinker, always ready to critically discuss scientific hypotheses and opinion, always giving energy and stimulating thoughts to our community. Thank you, Jörg, may you rest in peace in our memory!”

Paolo Matricardi

“Some people « rise out of the crowd » and Jörg was clearly one of them. He had an incomparable passion for science and research, and his enthusiasm when discussing such issues was always inspiring to me. Also, he was a particularly gentle person, and I always appreciated his personal sending of printed pictures which was really a gesture of friendship. Jörg my friend, you will be missed! “

Philippe Eigenmann

“Jörg was an outstanding, professionally excellent, passionate, open, constructive, honest and straightforward allergologist. Beyond these professional attributes, he was a warm hearted, open, and reliable friend that we will miss a lot. As one of the most active members of the German Allergy Society (DGAKI), he has led or provided so many important contributions to allergology as well as to many working groups (e.g. immunotherapy) resulting in several instrumental guidelines, books and book chapters among them also in “Allergologie”. He supported DGAKI and allergology per se in many ways, such as taking the responsibility for public and press relations of the DGAKI. For many years he also engaged actively in „Allergologie kompakt“, an educational project of DGAKI organized with our Department of Dermatology and Allergy of the Technical University of Munich. In our memory, also the image of him walking around with his small camera and taking photos from persons, groups and sessions has become invariably connected with many meetings and congresses. Importantly, his personal contact to colleagues and his mentoring of the younger scientists and doctors was always highly appreciative and his support e.g. in discussions lasted also beyond a meeting as he would also send papers and comments thereafter to support an improvement, which was far beyond any personal advantage but based on altruism. And, most of all, it was a lot of fun to meet him so many times over the years. We lost a friend in Allergy and an enthusiastic charismatic colleague; it is hard to imagine a congress, our world without him. Dear Jörg, thank you so much! “

Tilo Biedermann, Ulf Darsow, Knut Brockow

“I was so sorry to hear passing away of Jörg. I had shared my FIT training at Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center from 1991 to 1993. He was a nice person with many talents as nearly professional musician and an academic allergist. He had regularly sent me photos and music around the holiday season or after many congresses. I really miss him a lot. My deepest sympathy for his family and friends.”

Motohiro Ebisawa

“I know Jörg since the early 1990s, when I initiated my research in food allergy in Berlin. I know Jörg as a collaborator and friend, we conducted joint research projects and co-authored several publications. In particular, I would like to mention his input to the “International Paul-Ehrlich-Seminar” series, organized by the PEI in collaboration with US FDA, where Jörg served as Member of the Scientific Committee, Presenter, and Entertainer for more than a decade. We often asked him to address complex and difficult, sometimes controversial, topics in his presentations, because he thought deeply about the content, never just presented his “standard talk”, and in this way facilitated to initiate fruitful discussions. Moreover, it was a ritual that Jörg and the “Berlin-Leipzig Trio” were playing at the Get Together or the Social Event. We will have the next conference in September 2023. I knew since quite a while about his condition and that he would not be able to participate again. Everybody will miss him.”

Stefan Vieths

“Jörg was an exceptional clinician pioneering and promoting molecule-resolved diagnosis in medical practice. With his open and warm character, it was always a great pleasure to speak to him. We will miss his remarkable personality as well as his unique, lively and inspiring contributions to the field. My sincere condolences to Jörg´s family and friends”

Annette Kuehn

“I was so sorry to hear passing away of Jörg. I remember Jörg´s brilliant contribution during EAACI-ISMA 2019 in a ProConDebate about molecular IgE testing. Of course, he had a packed hall and an enthusiastic audience. I am grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him. My deepest sympathy for his family and friends.”

Bernadette Eberlein

“The news of Jörg’s passing left me speechless and extremely sad. Jörg has always been a source of inspiration for me on a scientific and human level. Jörg was an accomplished musician, confirming his multifaceted talent. His loss represents a great blow to me, and his memory and example will stay with me forever.”

Enrico Scala

“Jörg was not only a great scientist but also a good friend and captivating person, and the allergy scientific community will miss him very much.”

Riccardo Asero

“Jörg was a great clinician, but above all a wonderful colleague and friend. During the first meeting of the EAACI Task Force (Berlin, April 2015) to write the “Molecular Allergology User´s Guide”, he would smilingly encourage the team to “walk the extra mile” and triple check the precision and relevance of the written words for our patients. His sparkling energy was remarkable and everybody danced to his band´s music at “Max & Moritz” in Kreuzberg. Jörg´s precision and dedication combined with his remarkable empathy made him a special member of the team. Also during the work on the update of the book, he contributed as long as his fingers and voice would allow it. But far beyond this teamwork, he made important contributions to the dissemination of scientific knowledge and the application of molecular allergology. We´re deeply grateful and will all miss him and his lively discussions. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Stephanie Dramburg, Christiane Hilger, Alexandra Santos, Leticia de las Vecillas, Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber

“Dear Jörg, I first met you as a student in 1988 when you were working with Prof Kunkel. You were inspiring then and have ever been since in our many meetings. We will all miss you!”

Torsten Zuberbier

“Back in the 1980s Jörg and myself started as young researchers and medical doctors in the German Allergy family. For me, the scientific exchange with Jörg was very helpful, he opened my eyes many times and was always critical and open for new ideas. His talent as teacher and speaker was outstanding – he explained even the most difficult problems in an easily understandable way. Most of all, Jörg was a reliable and warm-hearted friend who besides allergy research was interested in several aspects of life like music and photography. Thank you Jörg, you will be missed in EAACI and worldwide”

Ludger Klimek
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