Funeral services held for pioneering AIDS researcher
Published Friday, April 14, 2017 4:47PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 14, 2017 6:58PM EDT
Hundreds of mourners packed Tifereth Beth David Synagogue on Friday to pay their respects to Dr. Mark Wainberg.
The outstanding HIV/AIDS researcher died suddenly on Tuesday while swimming with his family in Miami.
At his funeral he was remembered as a trailblazer and as someone who inspired others.
"[He was] always the nicest guys. Always a mensch, as we say," said his colleague at the Lady Davis Institute, Dr. Zev Rosberger.
Wainberg's dedication to HIV/AIDS research began in the 1980s, and led to the discovery of the effectiveness of 3TC in treating the disease.
He also spent several years as the head of the International AIDS Society, when it held an important conference in South Africa.
"He was the first one to have the conference in Africa, at a time when the extent of the epidemic was not well-known here in the west and in developed countries," said Dr. Eric Cohen of the Montreal Research Institute.
Dr. Hughes Loemba of the University of Ottawa was at the Durban conference.
"I remember how he was pushing to have all medication available to the African people, so it's great for the entire world HIV community," said Dr. Loemba.
Wainberg's son Zev said his father's death was a loss for the world.
"How many people in this world can say that their work saved millions of lives," said Wainberg.
Over the years Dr. Wainberg mentored dozens of physicians and scientists, including Mike Roskies.
"He said to me how important it was to hire people who were from Africa to come do research in his lab and how important it was for them to go back and provide to their society," said Dr. Roskies. "Instead of giving handouts he wanted to really feed a whole nation and really provide them with care that can sustain itself."
At the synagogue he attended for many years Dr. Wainberg was remembered as a man dedicated to his family and his community whose work saved the lives of others.
His colleagues are vowing to carry on his dream of a cure.