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Polish Journal of Pathology
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vol. 73
In memoriam

Professor Ondrej Hes (1968–2022)

Joanna Rogala

Pol J Pathol 2022; 73 (2): 81
Online publish date: 2022/10/10
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Ondrej Hes was born in Pilsen (Plzen) in the former Czechoslovakia on 21st July 1968, to an academic and an artistic family. After receiving medi­cal degree in 1993 at the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Charles University, he continued his postgraduate training in Anatomic Pathology. In 1999 he received Board Certification in Patho­logy. In 2001 he received his PhD followed by promotion to Associated Professor of Patho­logy at Charles University in 2003 and then Professor of Pathology at Charles University in 2009.
He was a dedicated surgical pathologist with a special interest in genitourinary pathology, especially focused in tumours of the kidney – a field in which he became a world-renowned expert. Hardworking and curious, he travelled worldwide reviewing usual and unusual kidney tumours, searching for what he called “orphan renal tumours” – a term he used for neoplasms that did not currently fit existing classification schemes. He collaborated with pathologists from five continents. All of this resulted in the creation of Plzen, probably the largest kidney tumour registry in the world, which was open to all everyone in the subject. It became a base for researchers as well as the European Society of Pathology (ESP) Advanced Training Centre for Genitourinary (GU) Pathology.
He was a great university teacher, who helped some of his students to become pathologists. He was part of the heart and brain of an unusual international GU pathologist network involving pathologists in all levels of their career. Also, he was the author of the unconventional idea to merge science and friendship, which led to the establishment of a series of GU pathologists’ meetings, called “Kidney Tumour Friends (KTF)” also known as the Pilsen Urogenital Pathology Conference, the first edition of which took place in 2006. The aim of this unique conference was to exchange ideas in the GU field not only inside an auditory hall but also al fresco during recreation activities.
He was frequently an invited speaker and lecturer, participating in numerous international societies and organizations such as the European Society of Pathology (ESP) and the Arkadi M. Rywlin (AMR) International Pathology Slide Semi­nar Club. He was an active member of working groups on renal neoplasia: the International Society of Urogenital Patho­logy (ISUP) and the WHO-blue book: Kidney Tumours. He was a co-author on the Genitourinary Pathology Society (GUPS) consensus articles, and he was the first official GUPS Ambassador. Ondrej Hes made a remarkable contribution to science, with over 529 peer-reviewed publications, receiving 7207 citations and obtaining an h-index of 40 (according to Web of Science 2022). Some of his works had a large impact on the everyday practice of GU pathology.
His name will forever be associated with the recently described kidney tumours: eosinophilic solid and cystic renal carcinoma (ESC-RCC), low-grade oncocytic tumour (LOT), and eosinophilic vacuolated tumour (EVT).
Pathology was not his only field of interest. He loved nature and was actively involved in its protection. He founded Eden, an NGO (non-governmental organization) supporting biodiversity. As he simply stated, “Each of us, even the greatest ecologist, will destroy part of nature in our lifetimes. Come with us to try and repair some of the damage. Let us together protect and recreate nature for future generations” (https://fondeden.cz).
He was also a passionate herpetologist and author of series of books on terraristics. He was a practicing photographer with some of his works being exhibited. Also he was well orientated in politics and history, and an open minded partner for discussion on any field. A restless sportsman, in his youth he became national champion in the men’s 400 metres run. Jogging or cycling were his chosen methods of reaching his office every day in the Department of Pathology in Plzen Charles University Hospital. During his last such run he suffered a stroke and passed away on 2nd July 2022.
Dr Ondrej Hes was a passionate scientist and educator, inspiring numerus young pathologists who came to Plzen to train with him. He was an exceptional human being with a contagious, true kindness, who always kept a smile on his face.
His memory and legacy will remain for gene­rations to come.
Copyright: © 2022 Polish Association of Pathologists and the Polish Branch of the International Academy of Pathology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
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