jesse p. greenstein, ph.d. (1902–1959)

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  • ROM 'rIME to time, a worker in a scientific F field will bring together diverse facets of information to form a new synthesis that will so influence the field that a more mature state of development is rapidly attained. T h e book by Jesse Philip Greenstein, Biochemistry of Cancer, published in 1947, was such a synthe- sis, distilling the essence of cancer biochemis- try from both the jejune early period and the very productive decade immediately preced- ing the book's publication. It continues, in the lorn1 of the 1954 second edition, to influ- ence significantly the cancer research field and is one of the most frequently cited references in cancer literature.

    The. death of Dr. Greenstein on Feb. 12, 1959, deprived the community of cancer in- vestigators of one of its great figures. I n addi- tion to writing Biochemistry of Cancer, he contributed much to cancer research through his own investigations and his editorial duties for Cancer Research and, with Dr. Alexander Haddow, for Advances in Cancer Research. His contributions to the cancer field are matched by those to the fields of biochemistry and nutrition, again through his investiga- tions, his duties as an editor of Archives of Biochemistry and Riop h ysics, and his advice to others, given as generously as he gave to scores of investigators samples of optically pure amino acids prepared in his laboratory by the enzymatic resolution procedure de- veloped by him and his co-workers. At the time of his death he was readying for publica- tion, with Dr. Milton Winitz, a definitive 3- volume work on amino acids.

    Jesse Greenstein was born in New York City in 1902. He received a B.S. degree cum laude in chemistry from the Polytechnic In- stitute o f Brooklyn, New York, N.Y., in 1926, and a Ph.D. degree from Brown University, Providence, R.I., in 1930. In the period 1930 t o 1999 he held various research and teaching posts at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Dresden, Ger- many, and the University of California at Berkeley, Calif. He joined the National Can- cer Tnstitute, of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., in 1939 and became Chief o f the Laboratory of Biochemistry in 1946. His publications number nearly 300 articles, including several reviews on cancer enzymology, nucleoproteins, and amino acid resolution.

    His numerous honors included the Hillc-


    ( 1 902-1 959)

    brand Prize, Washington Chapter, American Chemical Society, in 1957, the Department of Health, Education, and IVelfare Distin- guished Service Award in 1954, and the Carl Neuberg Medal in 1950. He was Chairman of the Division of Biological Chemistry, .Amer- ican Chemical Society, in 1955 and was on the Committee of Scientific Advisors, Institute of Microbiology, Kutgers University, New Bruns- wick, N.J. He held honorary memberships in the Japanese Biochemical Society and the Jap- anese Association for Cancer Research.

    Dr. Greenstein was an inspiring investiga- tor to those who were privileged to work with him. Not only did he show the way to enjoy- ment of good fellowship and fun in the labo- ratory to the scores of young investigators from this country and a dozen foreign countries, but he was an exemplary investigator com- mitted to excellence in research, appreciative of the value of long hours of hard work, and devoted to science.

    --Carl G. Baker, M.D.