Prominent Geneticist Dies

Leonard Herzenberg, who helped to develop the first fluorescence-activated cell sorter, has passed away at age 81.

By | November 5, 2013

STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINELeonard Herzenberg, the Stanford University School of Medicine geneticist who in 2006 won a Kyoto Prize for his work to develop the first fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS), died October 27, less than one month after having suffered a severe stroke. He was 81.

“The FACS technology was transformative to many fields, and is still regularly used today 30 years after its development,” Stanford’s Michael Snyder said in a Stanford obituary published last week (October 31).

Before winning the Kyoto, Herzenberg was also honored for his contributions to the field of immunology with a lifetime service award from the American Association of Immunologists in 1998, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry’s Edwin D. Ullman Award in 2002, and the Novartis Award for Immunology in 2004.

Among his many achievements, Herzenberg is also remembered for his role as a mentor. Paula Kavathas, one of Herzenberg’s former trainees who is now a professor at Yale University, told Stanford that the geneticist was a champion of work-life balance. “In the 1970s, the message to women scientists was that you couldn’t expect to have a family and be successful at a high-powered research university,” she said. “But in the Herzenberg laboratory, women were respected and empowered to believe otherwise.”

Herzenberg is survived by his wife and long-time collaborator Leonore, four children, and four grandchildren.

(Hat tip: GenomeWeb)

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