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Remembering Zoltán Patay, MD, PhD

Zoltan Patay, MD, PhD

Zoltan Patay, MD, PhD

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital mourns the loss of Zoltán Patay, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, who died Friday, July 22, at the age of 65. At the time of his passing, Dr. Patay was visiting his family in Budapest, Hungary.

Dr. Patay came to St. Jude in 2007 to serve as chief of the Neuroradiology Section in the then-Diagnostic Imaging Division. The division became a department in 2015, and a year later, Dr. Patay was named interim chair. In 2017, he permanently took over the role and was granted the Endowed Chair in Diagnostic Imaging.

Known worldwide for his work in pediatric brain tumor imaging, Dr. Patay frequently shared his expertise in international forums, helping improve diagnostic and therapeutic imaging-based assessments and treatments far beyond the walls of St. Jude. In fact, a series of white papers, created under his editorial supervision, will be published in a special issue of Pediatric Blood and Cancer. The work offers comprehensive imaging standards for pediatric tumors of the brain, spinal cord, skull base, and head and neck.

Dr. Patay received a medical degree from Semmelweis University Medical School in Budapest in 1982 and a doctorate from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1996. He trained in Hungary, France and Belgium in adult neurology, radiology and neuroradiology. In addition, he was a consultant neuroradiologist from 1997–2001 and section head of Neuroradiology from 2001–2006 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

At St. Jude, Dr. Patay helped shape and grow Diagnostic Imaging from a division to a world-class department, setting a standard of excellence in imaging research and patient care in diagnostic radiology. He also recruited numerous practitioners and mentored many early-career investigators.

Dr. Patay will be remembered for his dedication to patients, commitment to advancing the diagnostic imaging field, passion for knowledge sharing—and his vibrant sense of humor, including a special fondness for Yogi Berra quotes.

He is survived by his wife, Livia Villanyi; his son, Farkas Patay; and his daughter, Eszter Patay.