November 2009

Remembering Ruth L. Kirschstein


With her passing, we have lost a great scientist and an extraordinary public servant. Her distinguished career in public service spanned over five decades, and her legacy includes outstanding achievements in science and in public policy…Those of us fortunate enough to have known Ruth Kirschstein will always remember her for generously sharing her time and talent with those who needed help. She was a great leader who inspired thousands with her intelligence, commitment and compassion. FASEB will miss her, and we extend our sympathy to her family.

Mark O. Lively
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


I’m particularly saddened by Ruth Kirschstein’s passing, since I had the privilege of serving on the advisory committee to the director of NIH while she was interim director, and it was during my ASBMB presidency that she received the Howard K. Schachman Award, of which she was immensely proud because of her association with Howard…She was, indeed, a pioneer in biomedical research, and it is fitting that the NRSA bear her name due to her contribution toward the establishment of fellowship training awards during her career as NIGMS director. She was sharp of wit and very active throughout her career, not even letting a bout with breast cancer slow her down.

Bettie Sue Siler Masters
Robert A. Welch distinguished professor in chemistry
University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and
ASBMB past president


Dr. Ruth Kirschstein’s death is a tremendous loss to patients, researchers and all Americans who value medical research and NIH. The first woman to ever head an NIH institute, Dr. Kirschstein devoted her life to advancing medical progress, promoting diversity and scientific excellence, training future generations of scientists and serving as a mentor to scores of researchers and scientific administrators.

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