In Memory of Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki

Dr. Mindy Ming-Huey Guo

Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

My love affair with Kawasaki disease first started during my pediatric residency, when I first read about Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki and how he discovered an entirely new disease entity, the eponymously named “Kawasaki Disease.” Initially his findings were met with much skepticism within the medical community, but like a modern Sherlock Holmes of medicine, he meticulously documented a series of 50 cases which were finally published in 1967.

Although it has been over fifty years since Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki first described this disease, there is still so much about Kawasaki disease that remains a mystery. As a pediatric rheumatologist in Taiwan, which has one of the highest incidences of Kawasaki disease in the world, I often feel that no two patients with Kawasaki disease are exactly alike. It is hence no coincidence that I chose to focus my PhD studies on the elucidation of the pathogenesis of Kawasaki disease and its association with macrophages. Under the tutelage of my advisor, Professor Ho-Chang Kuo, at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, I have been able to translate my fascination with Kawasaki Disease into tangible clinical research, including that role of Th17 and Treg cells in the pathogenesis of Kawasaki disease, and more recently the affect of macrophage activation in Kawasaki disease.

In 2018, I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki in person at the International Kawasaki Disease Symposium at Yokohama Japan, where I also received a Young Investigators Award for my research on the role of macrophage polarization in Kawasaki Disease. Dr. Kawasaki was already in his 90s by then, but his eyes still burned bright with enthusiasm, and in that brief moment I felt very honored and inspired. It was as if in my own small way, I was joining a long tradition of pediatric researchers, beginning with Dr. Kawasaki, my mentor Dr. Ho-Chang Kuo and all my esteemed colleagues at the Kawasaki Disease Center in Taiwan. As a beginning researcher, I can only hope that my passion for investigation into this fascinating disease is as enduring as Dr. Kawasaki, and I will forever be indebted to his memory.

Dr. Kawasaki in photos

Dr. Kawasaki at 2018 IKDS

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