Retirement Announcement: Dr. Bob Schellenberg, Division of Allergy & Immunology

After 41 years, Dr. Bob Schellenberg is retiring as an Internist and Allergist/Immunologist at St. Paul’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Schellenberg’s illustrious career can be traced back to 1971 when he earned his medical degree from the University of Manitoba. He then went on to complete his internship and residency at the University of Manitoba Teaching Hospitals. Further studies then brought him to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship, focusing on basic research in mechanisms of allergic mediator release.

After two years serving as an Assistant Professor at the U of Manitoba’s Department of Medicine, Dr. Schellenberg accepted his first appointment as an Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Medicine in 1979. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1985, and full Professor in 1991.

Dr. Schellenberg has served as the Head of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Providence Health Care since 2003 and as Head of the UBC Division of Allergy and Immunology since 1997. As Division Head, Dr. Schellenberg has always been an enthusiastic and supportive leader, keen to see the Division grow both in terms of recruitment and the establishment of a training program in Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Under Dr. Schellenberg’s leadership, the division’s training program was approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2011 & fully accredited in November 2013.

Dr. Schellenberg has served on numerous committees and boards, including the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the examination committee for his subspecialty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, an editorial board member for the Canadian Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, co-chair of the local arrangements committee for the International Association of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Meeting in Vancouver, 2003, grant review committees for the Medical Research Council and the BC Health Research Foundation, Medical Advisory Committee of the BC Lung Association, Clinical Research Scholarship Committee, and  Peer Review Oversight Committee of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.  He was a highly committed and valued member of the UBC Department of Medicine Academic Appointments, Reappointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee for a number of years.

He has over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 12 book chapters and has presented or co-authored over 80 abstracts at national or international meetings. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings.

Dr. Schellenberg received both Fellowship and Scientist awards from the Medical Research Council of Canada. The focus of his research is on asthma and allergic inflammation with primary interests in the mechanisms of excessive airway narrowing of asthmatic tissues and the modulation of chemotaxis and apoptosis (programmed cell death) of basophils and eosinophils. His investigations of human airways have brought attention to the importance of changes in extracellular matrix elements as the cause of excessive smooth muscle shortening in asthma. He was awarded the 1999 Research in Immunology Award by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology for this contribution.

Dr. Schellenberg has embodied the qualities that we aspire to as a physician working in an academic institution. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in his subspecialty and his clinical acumen has benefitted many patients shared with other physicians with complex Allergy/Immunology presentations. His commitment to his patients is legendary and is reflected in the very high regard that they hold for him. His collaborative nature has been a model to us and important in the esprit de corps of our Department. Dr. Schellenberg has excelled as a teacher and has been a mentor for many of the next generation of Allergist/Immunologists in BC.

His colleagues at the PHC Heart Lung Institute (HLI) remarked that his sense of humour was ever-present and that he always had a joke to share with anyone who would listen. His love for riding undeterred by weather was shared at an annual Breakfast Ride Potluck in which he organized every year for everyone to attend. His wife’s chocolates will also be missed as Gloria made the best chocolates that Bob shared every year for all of the HLI team to enjoy.

We have all benefitted from our collaborations and friendship with Dr. Schellenberg and wish him well as he moves to the next phase where he is able to devote more time to family, friends and his craftsman’s level of woodworking. We can also thank Bob for his carbon offsets from his decades of bicycle commuting from Burnaby to St Paul’s Hospital – unaffected by season!

Congratulations on your retirement, Dr. Schellenberg!