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Peter Huttenlocher Obituary
Dr. Peter Huttenlocher, neuroscientist and neurologist, died in Chicago on August 15, 2013 of pneumonia and complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 82. Dr. Huttenlocher, Professor Emeritus and former Director of Pediatric Neurology at the University of Chicago, was known internationally for his work in the fields of Pediatric Neurology and synaptic plasticity. Dr. Huttenlocher was born in Oberlahnstein bei Koblenz, Germany in 1931. He was the son of Richard, a chemist, and Else, an opera singer. He came to the United States with his brother Dieter in 1949. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Buffalo and his medical and scientific training at Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health. His first faculty position was at Harvard University, and he then served for eight years at Yale University and thirty years at the University of Chicago. He was a dedicated physician to children with neurological diseases, and made major contributions to the understanding and treatment of children with Reyes syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and seizure disorders. He was held in high regard as a teacher and role model by medical students, residents and fellows due to his deep clinical and scientific insight, caring bedside manner and always humble demeanor. As a scientist he made seminal contributions to understanding synaptic plasticity, including the important observation that synaptic density changes with age in humans. Dr. Huttenlocher demonstrated that cortical remodeling and synaptic pruning are a normal part of development, and helped pave the way for future generations of neuroscientists. His contributions to the field culminated in the book entitled "Neural Plasticity: The effects of environment on the development of the cerebral cortex". In 1954 Dr. Huttenlocher married his lifelong best friend, Janellen Burns Huttenlocher, who is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. Peter was also a deeply engaged appreciator of classical music and German Expressionist art, a tireless caretaker of homes, yards and woodlands, and a baker of cakes and fruit pastries. He is survived by his wife and children, Daniel, Anna (Andrew) and Carl (Tami), and his grandchildren, Eric, Jason, Annika and Kaia. He is also survived by the many medical students, residents and Neurology fellows he helped to train at Yale University and the University of Chicago. The memorial service is at Montgomery place, 5550 S. Shore Drive, Chicago IL on September 28 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Tuberous sclerosis Association (http://www.tuberous-sclerosis.org/) or the Parkinson's disease foundation (http://www.pdf.org/).
Published in Chicago Tribune on Aug. 18, 2013
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