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OBITUARY
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 357-358  

Dr. Balbir S. Bhogal (1950–2016)


Department of Dermatology SMS and Sharda Hospital, Sharda University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication5-Jul-2016

Correspondence Address:
Amrinder J Kanwar
Department of Dermatology SMS and Sharda Hospital, Sharda University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.185475

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How to cite this article:
Kanwar AJ. Dr. Balbir S. Bhogal (1950–2016). Indian Dermatol Online J 2016;7:357-8

How to cite this URL:
Kanwar AJ. Dr. Balbir S. Bhogal (1950–2016). Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Aug 12];7:357-8. Available from: http://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2016/7/4/357/185475



My first journal club in Dermatology was on immunofluorescence in Dermatology. During a literature search, I came across the name of Balbir in almost every article. Balbir, a common Indian name, aroused a desire in me to meet him; this desire was fulfilled 25 years later when on a pretty cool day in January 1995 Prof Macolm Greaves took me to Martin Black's lab on the 4th floor of the St John's Institute of Dermatology, London where I met Balbir for the first time. We exchanged pleasantries in pure Punjabi, and that was the beginning of our friendship, which lasted more than 20 years till 3rd May 2016 when he very sadly left us.

It is difficult to imagine that the Guru of immunofluorescence is no more. Every friday, in 1995, I used to reach his laboratory at 9 AM and stayed there the whole day learning everything about immunofluorescence, from cryostats to labeling, from immunogold staining to Western blot, and independently interpreting slides. First hand learning from the great master, I have no words to describe how much I learnt from him. Frequent cups of coffee, chocolates, and lunch at the hospital cafe have left an indelible impression on me. Besides academics, he made me feel extremely comfortable in London telling me which places in UK I should visit before I return to India. It was only on his advice that we had our marriage Silver Jubilee celebration at Lake District, which was a memorable experience. He introduced me to so many “Greats” in Dermatology, and I was amazed at his ability to have so many friends and well-wishers all over the world.

Dr. Bhogal was given his MSc (Honours) in 1998 from United Medical and Dental School of Guy's & St Thomas Hospital, London. Thereafter, he completed his PhD in 2002 from Kings College London. He worked (with Prof Martin Black, Dr. Richard Groves, and Dr. Catherine M Stefanato) as a senior biomedical scientist and lecturer at Kings College London St. Thomas' Hospital from 1990 to 2014. He had just retired about a year back. Even after his retirement, he was actively involved in conducting Dermatopathology/Immunofluorescence workshops across the world. He had a close association with Indian Dermatology and was a frequently invited speaker in our National Conferences. Despite being a biomedical scientist, he was honored with the life membership of the Indian Association of Dermatologists Venereologists & Leprologists (IADVL) for his significant contributions to Dermatology.

Accompanied with his mentor, Martin Black, Balbir travelled the whole world exploring unknown places. Immunofluorescence would never be the same again with his untimely demise. Balbir was disseminating knowledge till this March when he spent a month in Manipal Hospital, India giving lectures and helping in the establishment of a laboratory for immunofluorescence. I would have never imagined that I won't see him again when I last met him in January 2016 during Dermacon 2016 at Coimbatore, India [Figure 1]. His passing away is a great loss to Dermatology in general and to blistering diseases in particular. St John's Institute of Dermatology, London would never be the same again. He would be missed by one and all.
Figure 1: Dr Balbir S. Bhoga delivering his lecture on Immunofluorescence at DERMACON 2016, India

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. C. R. Srinivas (Professor & HOD, Department of Dermatology, PSG IMS & R, Coimbatore) and Dr. Raghavendra Rao (Additional Professor, Department of Dermatology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal) for the photographs.


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