November 2009

Remembering Ruth L. Kirschstein

Kirschstein received many honors and awards during her career, including ASBMB’s Howard K. Schachman Public Service Award in 2002. The award itself was an antique brass microscope, but, with the rectitude that characterized her approach to public service, she donated the microscope to the NIH for permanent display on the campus.

The garden in front of the Beaumont House, the ASBMB headquarters in Bethesda, Md., is named for her, and a large granite boulder with a bronze plaque dedicates the garden in her name. The plaque reads in part, “This garden commemorates the contributions of Ruth L. Kirschstein…[to] cultivating the careers of many trainees in the biomedical sciences and guiding the foremost biomedical institute in the world during a critical period.”

The following are a sampling of comments from Kirschstein’s friends and colleagues:

The loss of Dr. Kirschstein is felt throughout the research community. Her leadership and commitment to science and public service were inspirational, and she is sorely missed.

John Edward Porter


We were all very sad to learn of the death of Ruth Kirschstein. She will be deeply missed here at NIGMS, NIH and beyond.

Dr. Kirschstein truly represented the best of NIH: public service, wisdom and deep knowledge and analysis of important problems. She was so profoundly modest that Congress had to surprise her when they acknowledged her contributions and commitment to research training with the naming of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.

Jeremy M. Berg

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