Jerry Lutty

We lost a good human being this week by the name of Jerry Lutty.  Jerry was a scientist who studied retinopathy of prematurity, ocular vascular development, diabetic retinopathy, sickle cell retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But more than that, Jerry was a spectacularly compassionate human being who’s very existence made this world a better place.  He was a giant of vision science who took the time to talk with, educate and learn from the students and trainees around him.


I loved always running into Jerry at meetings where we were just as likely to chat about retina or retinal vasculature, as we were about art, or photography.


And the thing about running into Jerry was that for some reason, we always started by grinning at each other like mad men.  This photo was made in a Berlin cabaret, where I walked in the door and came face to face with Jerry.


Jerry was the best of us. The best kind of scientist. The best kind of colleague. The best kind of human being who had a fundamental curiosity without any of the complications of ego or arrogance.  I am grateful for having known Jerry, and consider my life absolutely improved through my interactions with him over the years. I am grateful for the people that Jerry took the time to introduce me to, like Scott McLeod.  I am also grateful for those who he trained, and will carry on not only his work, but also his ethics, like Malia Edwards.

Thank you Jerry.  And thank you to Jerry’s family, Marialis, Jeremy, and Aurora, who shared so much of Jerry with the vision science community.

10 Replies to “Jerry Lutty”

  1. Thank you so much for your tribute to Jerry. You have captured the very essence of his soul. It meant so much to our lab and to his family. I have known Jerry for nearly 48 years and worked with him for the past 22 years all here at Wilmer. I do not know another person as supportive and sincere as Jerry. Our lab family will strive to continue his legacy, contribute to his research, and complete the goals that he had outlined. We miss him greatly.

    1. Thank you so much for your note Rhonda. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you after knowing Jerry for almost 50 years! I am so sorry to everyone around Jerry, who got used to his presence, and for all of us who looked forward to seeing and interacting with him. I’m also incredibly grateful for all the time Jerry spent with his staff and the trainees around him. That legacy will endure.

  2. What a tremendous loss for us all… My most heartfelt condolences to his family and closest colleagues and friends, Jerry will definitely be missed…

  3. This is such a beautiful tribute to Jerry, truely touching! He was such an outstanding scientist, mentor and warmhearted human being. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  4. Most people don’t know that Mr. Lutty, as we knew him, taught biology at St. John’s College High School in D.C. in the early 1970’s. My friends and I recognized what a smart, decent and caring guy he was. He was cool, and made me think biology could be a career. I recently retired from a long career writing about biology at NIH. A few years before I left, I saw on a bulletin board that Dr. Lutty was due to speak on campus. I emailed him at Hopkins out of the blue and reminded him of how much he meant to me as a teacher. He was cheerful and receptive as usual. I was unable to attend—and likely cover—his talk that time, but he said we’d meet on his next stop at NIH, which he visited periodically. I’m sorry to learn that we won’t be able to meet, but it was enough to know that he was happy to make it happen, so many years after he was my teacher.

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