|In memoriam Dipl.-Ing. Gerd Morawietz
On September 9, 2023, our honorary ESTP member, Dipl.-Ing. Gerd Morawietz, passed away. Gerd Morawietz was born in 1951 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, where he lived in the last years in his childhood home in Hemer. He was buried on September 28, 2023, in the family grave.
After graduation from high school and studies at the Steinfurt location of the university of applied sciences (FH) Münster, he started at a branch office of Fraunhofer in Münster, Germany, in the department of Aerosol Physics. In 1983, the department with almost all employees including Gerd Morawietz migrated to Hannover in a new building of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Aerosol Research. In Hannover, Professor Ulrich Mohr as one of the three institute directors had the idea of a data base of historical control data of proliferative lesions in rodents. Looking for the best computer specialist in the institute, he discovered the talent of Gerd Morawietz. From 1987 on Gerd built up the structure of the RITA data base in close collaboration with the pathologists of the Fraunhofer Institute and many Swiss and German pharmaceutical and chemical companies which were organized in the Gesellschaft für Toxikologische Pathologie (GTP), the predecessor organization of the ESTP established in 2002. Due to his high communication skills and great ideas with regard to transferring pathologists’ knowledge into a well-structured digital world, the RITA data base got a solid foundation and stable basic framework.
As the RITA data base was in need of a structured nomenclature, Gerd Morawietz supported the collection of terminology tables, manuscripts and digitized photographs with the aid of computer technology, which was not the standard at that time. He developed the RENI program, first on DOS, the ancestor of Windows, for maintenance of the RITA nomenclature, manuscripts, pictures, and the production of incidence tables. Moreover, Gerd’s great skills in computer technology and deep understanding of pathology demands have been a driving force in the development of the RITA data base as a world-wide recognized institution and strived for integration of North American companies. As an example, he strongly supported the publication of the RITA/NACAD Trimming Procedures which are the standard until today. Moreover, Gerd was involved in the set-up of the ILSI Alternative Carcinogenicity Program. To keep up to date, he transferred everything to the challenges of the novel world-wide web. Always thinking internationally, Gerd supported the INHAND project of International Harmonization of Nomenclature and Diagnostic criteria for lesions in rats and mice by upgrading the RITA WebRENI program 2007 to goRENI and opening it for world-wide access by pathologists.
In the early years of ESTP (2003-2007), Gerd Morawietz was instrumental in implementing the transition from GTP. He designed the website of the Society as well as the logo and in collaboration produced several CD-ROMs that provided sources of valuable knowledge for the pathologists but also funds for the Society. His creation of tools for the Secretary and Treasurer of the Society was of enormous value for the voluntary administrative work and he contributed tools for the successful relationship with Solution Office as professional congress organizer for the ESTP right from the start, which was a major driver of success for the annual European Congresses of Toxicologic Pathology.
In 2010, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to our Society, Gerd Morawietz became honorary member of the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology.
With Gerd Morawietz we have lost not only a scientist with outstanding contributions to the digitization in toxicologic pathology, we have lost an enthusiastic fighter for new ideas to improve existing structures. Being on fire, he knew to motivate colleagues and make them productive though knowing they were short in time. Upon requests, he was available more or less at any time of the day, never losing his sense for humor.
We will miss this outstanding computer specialist, good friend, and fellow human being!
Rupert Kellner, Matthias Rinke, Susanne Rittinghausen, Annette Romeike