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Pioneering Healer

Enter the office of Professor Sherwood “Sherry” Gorbach, M62, J84P, and you might be surprised by the number of yogurt containers collected there. Clearly not just leftovers from lunch, the packages display names in different languages from around the world.

What they have in common is a single ingredient: the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a microorganism known to reduce diarrhea and have other beneficial effects. Gorbach and a Tufts colleague, Professor Barry Goldin, discovered and patented it in the 1980s.

The yogurt additive is just one example of how Gorbach has combined his interest in research and his concern for patients in his career. A pioneering force in the field of infectious diseases, Gorbach has been a faculty member at Tufts University School of Medicine for more than 35 years.

The School of Medicine is honoring Gorbach’s legacy by creating an endowed professorship and research fund in his name. The goal is to raise $3 million.

“Sherry is the master clinician of his generation for infectious disease,” says Dean Harris A. Berman, M.D. “This professorship and research fund will allow Tufts to build on the remarkable work he has done.”

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego–based company for which Gorbach serves as chief scientific officer, recently donated $500,000 to the professorship and research fund to honor him. “He’s an unbelievable individual,” says Pedro Lichtinger, Optimer’s president and CEO. “Many people see the science but they stay in the science, and many people are very good clinicians but are not able to connect to the science. He is able to connect both. Whatever he says, you better listen. Ninety-nine-point-nine times of every 100, he is right.”

For more information on supporting the Gorbach Professorship, please contact Rebecca Scott, senior director of development and alumni relations, at 617-636-2777 or