Elliot Ellis

Published March 20, 2014

Elliot F. Ellis, UB professor emeritus of pediatrics and a leader and mentor in the field of pediatric allergy and immunology, died Feb. 22 in his home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 84.

A graduate of Kenyon College, Ellis earned his MD from Western Reserve in Cleveland in 1954. After an internship at Lenox Hill Hospital and residency at Babies Hospital/Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, both in New York, he served fellowships at Children’s Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver and the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.

Ellis served as chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at National Jewish Hospital and Research Center in Denver from 1966-74, where his style was very much “a hands-on department head," recalled a Denver colleague, Leonard Hoffman.

Ellis came to Buffalo in 1974 as director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He also held appointments at UB as professor of pediatrics, director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, and chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

He retired from UB in 1988 and moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he became chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours Children’s Clinic, and later, medical director at Muro Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Throughout his career, Ellis supervised the training of more than 75 allergists, earning the title he most cherished: mentor. His training and teaching helped many doctors, researchers and professors achieve success.

“I know we each can count on the fingers of less than one hand the really significant mentors who have guided our lives,” says one of his students, Eli Meltzer. “Elliot Ellis was certainly one of mine. His research advanced science, his kindness showed us how to care for children and their families, his behavior taught us to be gracious and humble, and his encouragement caused us to do more and be more than we might have chosen.”

A former president of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, Ellis was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the Bela Schick Award from the American College of Allergists, the Bret Ratner Award in Allergy from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Gold Headed Cane from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of allergy and immunology.

He was a fellow and member of many professional societies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, the American Association of Immunologists and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Respiratory Diseases, and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

A prolific scholar, he published numerous papers and book chapters, and co-authored a notable textbook, “Allergy: Principles and Practice.”