Thursday, May 30, 2024

Jan Klein

Name of Deceased Jan Klein
Date of Death 05/07/2023
Date of Birth 01/18/1936
Funeral Home Koch Funeral Home

Jan Klein, renowned Czech-American Immunologist, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology, Tuebingen, Germany and a Frances R. and Helen M. Pentz Visiting Professor of Science and adjunct professor of biology at the Pennsylvania State University passed away in State College on May 7th after a brief illness.

Born January 18, 1936 in Stemplovec, Czech Republic, he was the son of the late Maxmiliam and Ludmila Klein. He was predeceased by his sisters, Vera Varyšová and Františka Gödrichová and brother, Alois Klein.

Jan is survived by his wife, Akie; four sons, Marek Klein of Prague, Czech Republic, Norman Klein and Pavel Klein of Miami, FL. and Daniel Klein of Tampa, FL; one brother, Antonín Klein; one grandchild.

Jan rose to fame for his pioneering work on understanding the genetic basis of histocompatibility in transplantation and immunity. Exiled in the US following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he was appointed professor at the University of Michigan and later at the University of Texas in Dallas. His research thrived, and in 1977 he was invited to become director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tuebingen, Germany. He then lived in Germany, directing work at the research institute, with occasional stints in Florida where he also worked at the University of Miami. Upon his retirement in 2004, he came to Penn State University to continue his writing and research. Initially his focus was Immunogenetics but later he dedicated himself to a biography of Gregor Mendel, the founder of Genetics. He received numerous awards and honors over his long career and many of his former students and colleagues followed along scientific pathways he had inspired. Greatly missed by his wife Akie as well as his extended family, friends, and colleagues.

Visitation will be from 2 until 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton St., State College.

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