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The Leela and Belur S. Bhagavan, M.D. Professorship in Pathology

Support a Faculty Member in Pathology

The Leela and Belur S. Bhagavan, M.D. Professorship in Pathology is being established by the Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology, family and friends to honor the memory, lives and legacies of Leela Bhagavan (née Subbanna) and Belur S. Bhagavan, M.D. This permanent endowment will support a faculty member in the Department of Pathology whose dedication and commitment to education, research, patient care, and community mirror the values espoused by Leela and Belur throughout their lives.

Belur was born in India to a family of progressive theosophists. He graduated from R.G. Kar Medical College, Calcutta, India in 1958 and in the following year married Leela, the love of his life. They had three children—Minni, Anita, and Manu.

Belur completed his residency in pathology in 1966 at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland under the guidance of Drs. Tobias Weinberg and Howard D. Dorfman. Leela also worked at Sinai, becoming the first Indian ASCP certified histotechnologist in Baltimore. She later forged a successful 30-year career in banking.

At Sinai, Belur rose through the ranks, becoming Pathologist-in-Chief and Director of Laboratories from 1985 to 1999. While at Sinai, Belur taught medical students at Johns Hopkins, and welcomed rotating medical students into pathology at Sinai. After spending a year in New York at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Belur returned to Baltimore to join the Johns Hopkins faculty as an Associate Professor of Pathology.

Over the many years Belur was associated with Hopkins, he taught countless medical students, residents and fellows, contributed to the diagnostic gastrointestinal pathology service, and was a friend and mentor to many. His command over anatomic pathology was impressive. He solved diagnostic challenges starting from embryology, moving to histology and finally histopathology. The breadth and depth of Belur’s knowledge was boundless—as a pathologist he focused on a field (such as pediatric pathology, renal pathology and GI pathology), mastered it, and then moved on to a new field. He was always eager to learn and teach. He had a wonderful, mischievous sense of humor, and a playful smile. His selflessness, compassion, and wise philosophy were unmatched except, perhaps, by his lovely partner in all things, Leela. Sadly, Leela died in 2003 and Belur in 2020.

The Leela and Belur S. Bhagavan, M.D. Professorship will support creative men and women, allowing them to conduct high-impact research, attract the best students who want to work with acknowledged leaders, and bring solutions to society’s most intractable problems. Most importantly, generations to come will benefit from the Leela and Belur S. Bhagavan professor’s discoveries and innovations. This is truly a wonderful way to honor Leela and Belur’s legacies!

If you would like to support Leela and Belur’s legacies, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution in their memory to The Leela and Belur S. Bhagavan, M.D. Professorship through the Department of Pathology’s secure online giving form by clicking the button below.

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