George Paul Hess (1924 – 2015)

George Paul Hess

George Paul Hess, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Cornell University, passed away at his home in Ithaca, N.Y., in September. He was 92.

Hess was born in Vienna, Austria, and moved to the United States as a teenager. He completed his undergraduate and doctoral studies in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and did postdoctoral training in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1955, Hess joined Cornell University’s molecular biology and genetics department, where he would work for more than 50 years.

Hess’ research focused on the structure and function of membrane-bound proteins that regulate communication between cells in the nervous system. He led a research group that developed new methods of exploring these proteins including a laser-pulse photolysis method and light-activated neurotransmitters.

Highly respected for his research acumen, Hess was a John S. Guggenheim fellow, a Fulbright senior research scholar and a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Award. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hess was also a highly regarded professor recognized twice by the Cornell Merrill Presidential Scholars as an outstanding educator.

Hess is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susan Coombs, and four sons.

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