eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

Godfried M Roomans 1951 - 2014

Professor Godfried M Roomans died quietly on Friday November 7th at 63 years old. He leaves behind his wife Elsbeth and children Ragnvi and Njal with their extended families.

Godfried Roomans

Godfried was born in 1951 and grew up in Venlo, the Netherlands. He graduated in 1971 with his BSc in Biochemistry at the Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, followed at the same university with an MSc in 1975 and a PhD in Cell Biology in 1978. During his studies, he was also Secretary and Chairman of the university orchestra. After receiving his PhD he moved to Sweden and completed a second PhD in Animal Physiology in 1980 at the Wenner-Gren Institute, University of Stockholm – where he was initially a visiting research scientist and then a Research Associate. In 1981 he became Assistant and then Associate Professor at the Institute. In 1986 he was appointed full Professor in medical ultrastructure research at Uppsala University, becoming Course Director in human anatomy in 1988 and Deputy Head of the central electron microscopy facility. He became Chairman of the Department of Anatomy 1994-1997 and Chairman of the Department of Medical Cell Biology 1998-2005. In 1994 he became member of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, Poland. From 1993 to 1998 he was interestingly Chairman of Hagby IK Football Club. In 2008, he was appointed Professor of Biomedicine at Örebro University (especially Anatomy and Cell Biology). Godfried was in charge of first grade, especially for the training in the respiratory organs, circulatory organs and the musculoskeletal system. In 2010 he was made Honorary Doctor (doctor honoris causa) at Riga Stradins University in Latvia.

Godfried's research was on the disease of cystic fibrosis and, during the last few years, even on respiratory problems in newborn babies. He became a specialist in electron microscopy and x-ray microanalysis, techniques that he developed further and used in his research – and through which we initially became acquainted. He taught medical and biomedical students in Uppsala and Örebro. In Örebro he also taught anatomy as well as cell biology, and he was busy writing a course book on anatomy for medical education in Latvia. He twice received a prize for his teaching from the biomedical students at Uppsala. He was supervisor to more than 30 PhD students and published over 300 scientific articles.

In 1990, Godfried became the Editor-In-Chief of Scanning Microscopy International , after being a member of the Editorial Advisory Board since 1981. He was also on the editorial advisory boards of more than 5 other journals in the field and it was this experience that played a crucial part in his co-founding, with us, of the eCM journal . Our first contact with him was in Houston, Texas, May 1995 – at the Scanning Microscopy International congress organised by Om Johari. Discussion was given as much time as the presentations at these congresses. There were no commercial exhibitions and no alcohol consumed during the meeting time. Yet, there was super in-depth discussions of the presentations. New good friends were made and the relationships formed were long-lasting. After the congress sessions were over we would go out to dinner and get to know the keynote speakers and other presenters in an informal manner over a drink, or two (a practise still continued at the eCM meetings). During this meeting, we also attended the Cells and Materials programme. This was the inspiration that later resulted in having many of its aspects integrated into the eCM journal. This is where we also got to know Joost de Bruijn, as well as the late Hanns Plenk, both already very experienced in the area, who also became eCM Journal Scientific Editors.

Godfried Roomans

Godfried & his wife Elsbeth joining in the "singing" events at the eCM dinner in 2003

Godfried Roomans

Godfried lecturing at the first eCM conference in Davos, 1999

Godfried Roomans

Godfried and Iolo at the eCM council dinner, 2010

eCM council

eCM council dinner 2010

Godfried dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to supporting eCM, which he co-founded with us in 1999. eCM congresses as well as the setting-up of the on-line eCM Journal in 1999, through the difficult initial period until the current more successful times – where it is rated in the top five journals world-wide in its field. In 2003, Godfried's wife Elsbeth was able to join him in Davos at the eCM meeting and both had some time to enjoy walks in the mountains, though Godfried was already limiting himself to the lower altitudes for health reasons. He survived a severe heart attack in 2005, but very shortly after was back at work editing eCM Journal papers and continuing to attend the annual eCM Board meetings and Congresses. As a Professor in Sweden, he never received any financial recognition (or any per diem payments) for all his work for eCM as a volunteer in the cause of true open-access publishing. Godfried was a gentleman and a gentle person. He was a quiet, yet hard working man with a distinctive smile and humour. He once told us that his son was rebelling against him by wearing a suit, since he usually wore Jeans. Godfried was very organised and true to his nature, he had even prepared an obituary for the local Swedish papers in January 2013 (which Elsbeth provided us with) and also (as we had guessed and Elsbeth confirmed) he had also prepared a checklist for what must be organised afterwards, just as he had a checklist for all of his duties at eCM.

It was our privilege to have known Godfried, as well as to have been amongst his friends and colleagues. We already feel a deep loss in his passing-away and on behalf of all the team at eCM we would like to thank him and his wife Elsbeth for the time that he gave us. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to her and the extended family at this difficult time. We can only hope that the knowledge that he had contributed so much to the lives of so many will provide some comfort.

Iolo ap Gwynn, Aberystwyth University, Wales (co-founder eCM)
R Geoff Richards, AO Research Institute Davos, Switzerland (co-founder eCM)

November, 2014

eCM Council

eCM council at eCM XV, 2014 (minus Christine who was absent and Hanns, who had passed away the previous week).
Back: Jürg Gasser, Mauro Alini, Peter Roughley, Martin Stoddart; middle: Godfried Roomans, Thimios Mitsiadis, Brian Johnstone; front: Iolo ap Gwynn, Chris Evans, Charlie Archer, R.Geoff Richards.


eCM walk

Godfried often attended eCM walks in Davos (2007).