Dr. Geza J. Jako

Quick Facts

JakothAM2093FDBorn: 1930 Budapest, Hungary

Died: 2015,   Melrose, Mass.

Spouse: Mrs. Maria (Gal) von Jako
Number of children: 3

Source: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=176324653#sthash.IMSsDyJk.dpuf

In Hungary
Education: Semmelweis Medical University, Summa cum Laude, Budapest, 1954
Occupation: Medical Doctor, Ear, Nose, Throat specialist
Active role in the revolution: YES

As a “Freedom Fighter” during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the occupying Soviet Union, Dr. Jako organized the ambulance and medical emergency service, after which he was forced to escape the Communist backlash.  His former hospital in Budapest, Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, is now recognized as the “Hospital of the 1956 Revolution.

In United States of America
Arrival: 1957, Boston, Mass.
Education: Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Boston Univ
Occupation: MD, Professor, Political Advisor
Workplace: Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Boston Univ, Boston, Massachusetts

Awards: Professor and Director of Research at BU. He received a Professorship in Biomedical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, and was Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and conducted laser research in the MIT Spectroscopy Laboratory. In the 1970s, he spent two four-year terms in top advisory positions at the National Institutes of Health in Communicative Sciences and General Medical Sciences where he sanctioned matters concerned with biophysics, bioengineering, and genetics. He was then involved in matters surrounding the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 where US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began the regulation of medical devices, at around which time he was the President of the Otolaryngology (ENT) Council.


Dr. Jako was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930 and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Semmelweis Medical University in 1954. He became interested in the field of Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Surgery, as his maternal grandfather, Professor Geza Krepuska, was the first chairman of Otology at the Semmelweis Medical University. As a medical student, Dr. Jako’s interests included physics and engineering, and he built one of the first electronystamograph (for vertigo investigations) in the world as well as hearing measuring instruments.

As a “Freedom Fighter” during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the occupying Soviet Union, Dr. Jako organized the ambulance and medical emergency service, after which he was forced to escape the Communist backlash. His former hospital in Budapest, Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, is now recognized as the “Hospital of the 1956 Revolution

Dr. Jako arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957.

He completed his specialty training in ENT, Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School and later served on the faculty. In 1962, while at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, he was the first to implant two electrodes into a patient’s cochlear to hear sounds. His pioneering efforts later lead to the development of cochlear implants.
Also in 1962, he developed the first microsurgical instruments for the surgical treatment of the vocal cords and throat cancer. In the same year, he established a private practice in a northern suburb of Boston, Melrose, Massachusetts while continuing to operate in Boston hospitals. At Melrose-Wakefield Hospital he first applied these techniques, which later became recognized as minimally invasive surgery.
In the late-1960s, he moved to Boston University School of Medicine (BU) while also continuing to operate at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. While at BU, he used the first surgical carbon dioxide (CO2) laser that he and his physicist friend, Dr. Thomas Polanyi†, developed. They used the laser on a number of preclinical experiments. The first successful human use of the laser in surgery, other than that of the eye, occurred in 1971. Dr. Jako and his colleagues, Drs. M. Stuart Strong and Charles Vaughn†, at BU conducted the surgery to treat a patient with a vocal cord tumor. Within a short period of time, Dr. Jako had demonstrated that the laser is suited to the treatment of a wide range of head and neck lesions, and he promoted the wider use of lasers in “all” medical disciplines with special emphasis on cancer treatment. He continued to utilize the laser in his international surgical practice with patients from around the world at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital until he retired from surgery in 1995, however he continued practicing medicine in the VA Healthcare System until 2003.
In 1973, he was appointed Professor and Director of Research at BU. He received a Professorship in Biomedical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, and was Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and conducted laser research in the MIT Spectroscopy Laboratory. In the 1970s, he spent two four-year terms in top advisory positions at the National Institutes of Health in Communicative Sciences and General Medical Sciences where he sanctioned matters concerned with biophysics, bioengineering, and genetics. He was then involved in matters surrounding the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 where US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began the regulation of medical devices, at around which time he was the President of the Otolaryngology (ENT) Council.
In the 1980s, Dr. Jako was a Founding Member, Past President, and Honorary Member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.
He was an early supporter and member to the Hungarian Society of Massachusetts with his close friend and former classmate Professor Dr. Károly Balogh. Dr. Jako was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2001. His work, entitled “Hungarian Born Scientists who made the 20th Century”, is exhibited in the Hall of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. There he is among two dozen other scientists such as Eotvos†, Szentgyorgyi†, Teller†, von Bekessy†, and other Nobel Prize Laureates.
Endoscopic laser surgery in ENT became one of the most important treatments for throat cancer
In addition to his many contributions to medicine, in 1982, he received White House Advisory Positions appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Cancer Advisory Board, and in 1990 to the three member President’s Cancer Panel appointed by President George H. W. Bush.

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