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George William Jourdian (4/21/1929 - 11/28/2015)

Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine and Professor Emeritus of Biological Chemistry,
Medical School
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI



Memories from lab members and professors:


From Oliver He:

Oliver He's memory (December 2015):

"I respect him a lot. He is a dedicated scientist."

"We had become very good friends since I joined UM in the summer 2015. Our previous lab in the Kresge building was indeed part of his previous lab space. After his retirement, he did not need that much lab space, so I was assigned to use part of the lab space for my lab research. After knowing each other’s research, we eventually began to collaborate on some Brucella vaccine project. This project eventually got an EBS internal grant support in the University of Michigan Medical School. For the project, Bill helped supervise students (including Charlie Larson and Jennifer Smith and many others) in the lab to isolate bacterial proteins and lipopolysaccharides. Meanwhile, he had been working by himself to finish a project that he wish to eventually publish. After the old Kresge building was turned down and our lab moved to ULAM ARF 108, Bill moved with us to ARF 108. In the end of last year and early this year, our lab moved to MSRB III, and he also moved with us. We had been together for 10 good years. "

"In addition to help mentor students, Bill also helped us in paper/grant proposal editing, discuss scientific questions/topics, and chat about life and career. He was humorous and outgoing. We had a lot of sweet moments together, I remember that for a couple of years, Bill came to the lab almost every day when he was not in travel. When he came, we usually had lunch together in my office in ARF 105 room. That time Fang usually had lunch with Bill and me together. We chatted a lot on various topics. In the end, we often enjoyed the cookies that his wife (Joan) prepared and he shared with us during lunch. I also remember that my family was invited to attend his 80th birthday party, and we had many other enjoyable parties together… "

From He lab members:

"Just found Bill passed away last month,  feeling sad to lost an old friend" - Fang Chen, previous He lab postdoctoral research fellow.

"On reflecting, I could only think of the positive things about Bill over the many years during my phd.  You mentioned the meetings with Fang… I also remember those lunch meetings, and absolutely enjoyed our conversations.  And the 80th birthday party… definitely remember that.;  I also consider him as one of my co-mentors… so much good advice and continual prodding to finish all my papers.  I absolutely respected, and will continue to respect, all of his opinions.  I still remember everyone helping with the first equipment transfer to Kresge, and our later move upstairs from the ARF/ULAM.  I think my Mom still has that dessicator he gave me to make a terrarium (couldn’t bring it to California, but we can make a cool planter next time I’m in the Midwest)." - Andrew Hodges, previous Bioinformatics PhD student in He lab.

"I'm so sorry for hearing the news. This is a great loss both to his family and to the community. I will always miss him." - Allen Xiang, previous bioinformatician in He lab.

"I am in very bad mood all the morning today.
After see the pictures , let’s recalled the happy times in your lab…..." - Xinna Li, previous postdoc in He lab.

"I feel so sorry for hearing the news.
He is such a distinguish figure in the lab." - Asiyah Yu Lin, previous postdoc in He lab.

"Please send my condolences to his family, Bill was a very humorous guy who I enjoyed working with, and I wish I could have seen him again before he passed away." - Omar Tibi, previous student in He lab.

"Please pass on my deepest condolences to his family. Bill was always very kind to me." - Sirarat (Sira) Sarntivijai.

"Dr. George William Jourdian (Bill) all the best!" - Jianguo Zhu, previous visiting scholar from Shanghai Jiaotong University, China.

""Bill is one of my closed friends, who helped me a lot with my life in America. I can never forget when he took out the glasses and revised my manuscript. He was always there when I needed help in America. Please accept my sincere condolences." -- Lily Liu, previous exchange PhD student from China.

"I am sorry to hear this news. I have several good moments together with Bill. In Office, coffee shop and his house. I will remember those good memories and wish Bill goes well with God. " - Hao-Teng Chang, previous visiting scholar from Taiwan.

"So sad.  He was a great guy and will be missed." - Thomas E. Todd, previous DVM resident who did research in He lab.

"I have many fond memories of Bill and will always remember him as one of my biggest cheerleaders. He always had kind words of encouragement for me, and one of my fondest memories of him is sitting with him at a picnic table outside of the medical school while he gave me advice, both professional and personal (including the best places to eat in DC!)." - Rebecca (Becca) Racz, previousstudent in He lab. 

From school professors and leaders:

"I think it was so wonderful that the two of you were able to develop such a strong collaboration and friendship as he was ending his career and you were beginning yours.  I know that you will miss him tremendously." - Bob Dysko, DVM, Professor, Director of the Unit for Lab Animal Medicine (ULAM), University of Michigan Medical School.

"Oliver, thanks for the note.  You were nice to visit him.  I am sure he appreciated this.  My condolences on the loss of your friend. " -- Harry Mobley, PhD, Frederick G. Novy Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School.

"I am deeply sorry for the loss of your dear friend, colleague and mentor. He was indeed a special person." - Janet Follo, University of Michigan Occupational Safety and Environmental Health officer.

See more memories from: legacy.com, and prabook.com.


Memorable slides and pictures:

See: the memorable slides that Oliver prepared in 2009 to celebrate Dr. Bill Jourdian's 80th birthday party. Many pictures with Bill are displayed in the slides. Note that due to different reasons, the He lab has stopped the research of developing the Brucella vaccine as indicated in the presentation.

The following lab websites keep some more pictures where you can find Bill:


Dr. Joudian's academic achievements:

"Bill attended Amherst College (1946-1950) supported by prestigious scholarships. He majored in science and history. After attending the University of Massachusetts (1951-54), Bill received his Master's degree in Bacteriology, and then moved to Purdue (1954) to complete his PhD in Biochemistry. He completed postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan Rackham Arthritis Research Unit (1958) under the guidance of Saul Roseman. In 1961, Bill became a faculty member at the University of Michigan in the biological chemistry department and was promoted to associate professor in 1965. Bill's research focused on the biochemistry of glycoproteins and carbohydrates in cartilage. In the early 1980s, Bill discovered a receptor involved in intracellular and extracellular trafficking of lysosomal enzymes called the phosphomannosyl receptor. This landmark discovery was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 1981. Bill was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for 5 years, president of the Society for Glycobiology for three years, and served on the Physiological Sciences Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. Academically, Bill is remembered for his teaching skill, innovative research, collegial nature, and enthusiasm for scientific research." - copied from his obituary.

See: Dr. Bill Jourdian's papers in PubMed.

See: Dr. Joudian's co-author papers in He lab.



01/23/2016: Oliver He attended the memorial service in Bill's honor that was held on January 23rd, 2016 at 2 pm at Nie funeral home on Liberty in Ann Arbor.

03/27/2018: Oliver He attended the inaugural George William Jourdian Lectureship in Biological Chemistry. Here is the fly of the event. Here is the pamphlet of the Jourdian Lectureship: pamphlet part 1, and pamphlet part 2. Bill's family members (including Bill's wife Joan, daughter Susan, granddaughter Dr. Amy Rumora, etc.) attended the event. In the beginning of the event, Amy presented a moving memory of her grandpa, and one of Bill's previous students also introduced her memory of Bill. Amy just remembered Bill's words "Just like coming home", and she is now a PhD in biochemistry and doing her postdoctoral research now.


He Group
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI 48109