Robert Labbé (1922 – 2015)


Robert Ferdinand Labbé, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, passed away in March due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 92. Born on Nov. 12, 1922, in Portland, Ore., Labbé’s interest in chemistry started in high school. After a short stint in the navy, he finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Portland and later obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oregon State University. In 1958, Labbé joined the medical faculty at the University of Washington, where he worked his entire career. Beginning in the department of pediatrics, Labbé joined the department of laboratory medicine in 1974 and became the head of clinical chemistry in 1980. Labbé’s research interests included the study of porphyrins, metalloporphyrins and other pyrrole compounds, and he developed a section for the school on nutrition. A conservationist who enjoyed international travel, photography and music, Labbé married Norma Lee Wiley in 1955. Norma Lee was a registered nurse who shared Labbe’s interest in the role research played in the medical field. In her honor, Labbé founded the Robert F. and Norma Lee Labbé Endowed Faculty Fellowship in Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington. The fellowship supports the laboratory research programs of faculty members who are early in their careers.

Erik Chaulk Erik Chaulk is a peer-review coordinator at the ASBMB.