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In Memoriam: TOS Member and Award Winner John G. Kral, MD, PhD

from TOS



TOS member and award winner John G. Kral, MD, PhD, affiliated with SUNY–Downstate Medical Center in New York for more than 30 years, unexpectedly succumbed to a brief and serious illness on June 19, 2019. Kral worked at SUNY–Downstate as professor of surgery, medicine, and molecular and cell biology.

A native of Sweden, Kral obtained his medical and doctorate degrees from the University of Gothenburg. He completed his residency in surgery at the same institution.

In 1980, Kral was recruited to St. Luke's Hospital Center, Columbia University, to develop a program of surgical metabolism and anti-obesity surgery. He is a charter member of NAASO — The Obesity Society.

Since 1988, Kral served as attending surgeon in the rank of professor of surgery at SUNY–Downstate. From 1988 to 1992, Kral served as director of surgery at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY.

In 2012, Kral received the Friends of Albert (Mickey) Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is designed to recognize people who, like Mickey Stunkard, have made a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the field of obesity in terms of scholarship, mentorship, and education.

Friends and colleagues added that Kral was a true surgeon scientist with tremendous contributions to the fields of surgical metabolism, including basic science studies on gastrointestinal hormones, adipose tissue, and lipid metabolism, and the neurobiology of the metabolic syndrome. "John was one of the most ethical individuals I have ever met, and also one of the few surgeon scientists with whom I had the pleasure to exchange ideas. He was a first-rate human being," said TOS Past President Allen Levine, PhD.

As a result of his academic accomplishments, Kral served as president of the New York State Society of Surgeons and Council Member of the New York Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He was an active participant in the Columbia University Seminar on Appetitive Behavior, a venue visited by many TOS members, and his insightful contributions led to innovations in thinking and the stimulation of productive collaborations among fellow investigators.

Kral's prolific bibliography comprises 156 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 4 books, 88 book chapters and reviews, 88 editorials, journal letters and comments, and 229 published abstracts. He was co-investigator on many National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, served as a reviewer in many NIH study sections, served as a member of NIH consensus conferences, and held at least one US patent.

In reflecting on his time with Kral, TOS President Steven B. Heymsfield, MD, FTOS, observed that "Kral had a deep love of his patients, the science of obesity, and a passion for TOS."

Above all, Kral was a kind and modest man, a highly esteemed colleague, a friend within the Department of Surgery, and a mentor to the next generation of surgeons. He was a spirited discussant who enjoyed challenging conventional wisdom, wrangling with colleagues over data interpretation, and putting the cats among the pigeons in any scholarly settings. He had a Puckish side to him and enjoyed the role of being an enfant terrible of the obesity community, yet always executed it with grace, professionalism, and collegiality.

Kral is survived by his loving wife, Marianne, and his sons Fred and Alex and their families.

Those wishing to make memorial gifts may donate to the nonp more


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