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Famed scientist Sanjiv Sam Gambhir deceased on the same day he received Stanford’s highest honor

Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, an acclaimed scientist-physician, has died from cancer at age 57. He was the director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford and the Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

On the day Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir’s death was announced, he also received Stanford’s highest honor, the Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence reserved for those whose scientific, medical, or humanitarian work has advanced the mission of Stanford Medicine


A famed scientist, Gambhir has authored over 1,000 publications, according to his Stanford profile. His scientific contributions have graced the cover of over 25 journals including Nature Series, Science, and Science Translational Medicine. Gambhir joined Stanford in 2003 and become the chair of the Department of Radiology seven years later. The scientific mastermind is survived by his wife Aruna Gambhir. The couple had a son Milan, who died at age 16 in 2015 from glioblastoma multiforme — one of the deadliest brain tumors.

Sam Gambhir is best known for his work in early cancer detection and advancing molecular imaging, which is potentially vital in detecting and diagnosing metabolic diseases such as cancer, as well as neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

Gambhir has received numerous awards, medals, and honors for his work in advancing Molecular Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, and early cancer detection. Some of his recent honors include the IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award, IEEE Advancing Technology for Humanity in 2019, and the Distinguished Investigator Award, 7th Annual Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging in 2018.

“We are sad and heartbroken to announce the passing of Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, our Chair of Radiology at Stanford University. Sam was a remarkable leader and mentor, who had a profound impact on all of us. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and family. May he rest in peace.” stated a tribute on Twitter.

Several colleagues and students also paid tribute to Gambhir with many describing the scientist as a visionary, brilliant mind and a gentlemen. It is still unclear what cancer Gambhir died from as an official cause of death is yet to be announced

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