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Queen’s remembers pathology pioneer Daria Haust

Dr. Daria HaustThe Queen’s community is remembering Daria Haust, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2022, at age 100.

A legend in the field of modern pathology, Dr. Haust was a distinguished scientist and medical educator, and brought the study of pediatric pathology to the global stage. Widely respected for her teaching ability, she was a revered mentor whose passion and devotion to duty greatly influenced many of her colleagues and students at Queen's University and Western University. 

Until her passing, Dr. Haust remained an Adjunct at Queen’s Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Dr. Haust generously donated funding for the Dr. M. Daria Haust Pathology Summer Studentship, an opportunity available to first or second-year Queen’s medical students that provides them with funding to undertake a 10-week studentship in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. The Haust Trust Fund supports scholarships for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students (MSc; PhD) studying pathology in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. The Dr. M Daria Haust Lecture series honours Dr. Haust's scholarly achievements, her contributions to her profession, and her passionate devotion to the department and Queen's.  

Dr. Haust is counted among the founders of pediatric pathology. A festschrift (a collection of writings) in her honour was published in Pediatric Pathology and Molecular Medicine in 2002 with contributions from 10 esteemed international scientists.

“Under her influence, pediatric pathology became a discipline in its own right and became recognized as such in many foreign countries where it had hitherto been neglected or even ignored,” writes Christian Nezelof, the late French pathologist who paid Dr. Haust tribute.

Dr. Haust, a native of Poland, graduated with distinction from the Medical School of Heidelberg University (Germany) in 1951. After immigrating to Canada with her husband in 1952, she completed a rotating internship at Kingston General Hospital in 1953. Following a year of atherosclerosis research with Robert More, she enrolled in the General Pathology Residency and Graduate School programs at Queen's. In 1959, she obtained specialty certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and an MSc from Queen's. 

“Dr. Daria Haust was an immensely distinguished and beloved member of our department in the 1950s and 1960s and a staunch advocate for pathology ever since. Her contributions to our department live on in our memories and as scientific and financial contributions that support our mission” writes David Berman, Head, Queen’s Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. 

After a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric pathology with Benjamin Landing at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Dr. Haust joined the Faculty of Medicine at Queen's in 1960 as an Assistant Professor. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1967, moving thereafter to Western, obtaining full professorship in 1968. 

Dr. Haust had a distinguished career in basic research in several areas including atherosclerosis (the thickening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque), the process of elastogenesis (the formation of elastic fibre in heart valves etc.), and the pathogenesis of several genetic diseases. She was a highly regarded educator and played important roles in the establishment of national and international scientific societies. She also served on several editorial boards of scientific journals and lectured around the globe throughout her career. 

In 2007, Dr. Haust's extraordinary career culminated with her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2012, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada.