December 6, 2002

Najjar, former chair of Microbiology, dies Nov. 30

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Dr. Harry Jacobson, left, congratulates Bob Feldman on his new job. A reception was held by the Vice Chancellor’s office on Dec. 3 to honor Feldman. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Dr. Victor Najjar, former chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Vanderbilt, died Saturday, Nov. 30 in Nashville after a long illness. He is the father of Dr. Jennifer L. Najjar, assistant professor of Pediatrics.

Najjar was born in Lebanon and graduated from the Medical School of the American University, Beirut in 1935. He trained at Johns Hopkins and remained on the faculty there until 1957. From 1957 until 1968, Najjar was professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Vanderbilt. In 1968 he became professor of Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts Division of the American Cancer Society and ACS Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts Medical School until 1984. He returned to Vanderbilt in the early 1990s and held an appointment in the Department of Pediatrics until 1998.

In 1952, at Johns Hopkins, he and John Crigler published a report of a defect in bilirubin glucuronidation that bears their name. In Crigler-Najjar syndrome, intense jaundice appears in the first days of life and persists thereafter.

Najjar is survived by three children: Jennifer Najjar, Julie Petcu and Monty Najjar, and seven grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made in Najjar’s name to scholarship support for medical students. The gift can be designated in one of two ways: general scholarship support or the endowed scholarship fund. Donations can be sent to VUSM, Gift Records, V.U. Station B #357727, Nashville, Tenn. 37235-7727.