A. Julio Martinez Memorial Lecture

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The A. Julio Martinez Memorial Lecture was established in 2003 and funded by his colleagues and the Department of Pathology. In memorial of Dr. Martinez's diverse clinical, academic and research career, the lectureship covers the entire breadth of Neuropathology. Faculty and students from many University departments attend the lectureship reflecting the complete spectrum of neurological disease including infectious, degenerative and neoplastic disease.

Dr. Martinez was born in 1930 in St. Cruz del Sur, Cuba. He received his M.D. from the University of Havana School of Medicine in 1959, but fled communist Cuba in 1962. In 1969, he completed his neuropathology fellowship at Case Western Reserve University and then served as an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Medical College of Virginia.

He later taught as an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee but returned to Virginia in 1972. It was there he encountered a situation that would profoundly influence his career. After swimming in a pond, several children fell into comas and died. Neuropathologists found that a free-living amoeba had infected their brains. Deeply affected by the tragedy, he decided to dedicate his career to studying such pathogens. Dr. Martinez is remembered today as one of the world’s leading authorities on the neuropathology of amoebic infections.

In 1976, he joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as an associate professor of pathology. During his professional career, he published 185 scientific articles and received numerous awards. In 1991, Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States. As a political refugee, he helped many people who had escaped authoritarian regimes.

In 2000, Dr. Martinez officially retired, becoming professor emeritus. On December 27, 2002, after 26 years with the Department of Pathology, A. Julio Martinez, M.D died. He is fondly remembered for his contributions to the field of neuropathology, for his keen diagnostic eye, and especially for his warm and approachable personality.