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Peter Stoehr

Peter Stoehr, former EMBL-EBI Head of IT and later Literature Services died on 15 February 2020 at the age of 64.

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected passing of Peter Stoehr, one of the founders of EMBL-EBI. Alongside Graham Cameron, Peter developed the vision for EMBL-EBI and turned it into a reality and a success.

Peter, who worked at EMBL Heidelberg and EMBL-EBI between 1988 and 2012, started as an Applications Programmer in the EMBL Data Library, before the EMBL-EBI was officially established. At that stage the group was just a handful of employees collecting and sharing DNA and RNA data. The task was burgeoning, and Peter immediately turned his hand to exploiting the then new technology of CD-ROM to share the data.  He was a gentle and modest team member liked by all – perhaps apart from the lab’s squash players, none of whom could beat him!

He oversaw most of the production activities of the group through to the transition to the EBI in Hinxton, moved there in 1994, and was instrumental in transferring the services from Heidelberg to the new site. During his time in Hinxton, he was Head of Database Operations, Head of IT Services and finally moved to being Head of Literature Services, now a key component of the institute. He stayed at the EBI until his retirement in 2012, and his good sense, technical competence and team spirit were exploited in the various roles he took on.

Peter’s visionary outlook, modesty, kindness and professionalism made him instrumental to the creation and development of many of our teams and databases.  Even in the most stressful of times, Peter always kept his calm demeanour and good humour.

When Peter left the EBI in 2012, he finished his goodbye email with the words “Please look after the place” – a sentiment many of his colleagues from that time, and many of us working here today will relate to.

He will always be missed and thought of with fondness by those who knew him at the EBI.

Our thoughts are with Peter’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Graham Cameron, Paul Flicek and Jo McEntyre 

EMBL-EBI Associate Directors