After a three year long battle with cancer, Olaf Schneewind passed away at his home in Burr Ridge on the morning of Sunday, May 26. Olaf was one of the world’s leading experts on the mechanisms that enable pathogenic bacteria to cause human disease.
He moved to Burr Ridge in June 2018 to be closer to his laboratory at Argonne and was a frequent patron at Patti’s Sunrise Café, ordering a turkey club almost every Sunday.
Olaf was a native of Germany and trained as a physician-scientist at the University of Cologne. He came to the United States as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University, later joining the faculty of UCLA.
Olaf joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2001, and he served as the first chair of the Department of Microbiology from 2004 till the present. He became a lifelong mentor to generations of students and fellows. In 2018, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.
Olaf was a highly respected scientist, teacher, and friend, known for his honesty and relentless perseverance. He is survived by his wife and colleague Dominique Missiakas and his three daughters: Daphne (21), Chloe (19) and Penelope (10).
Visitation will be held Saturday, June 1, 2019, from 10:30 am till 1:00 pm at Graceland Cemetery Chapel, 4001 N Clark St. Chicago Il. 60613. Interment to follow.
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