February 2010

ASBMB Member Spotlight

In Memoriam: Robert Wenthold

Spotlight---WentholdRobert J. Wenthold, a neuroscientist who had been scientific director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, died Oct. 30 in Bethesda, Md. He was 61.

Wenthold was born in Cresco, Iowa. He graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and received a doctorate in biochemistry from Indiana University in 1974. He did postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health and later became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. In 1984, he joined what was then called the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke as a senior investigator. Five years later, he moved to the new NIDCD and became its director in 1998. There, he was a vital force in helping to build the institute’s intramural research program. He also started a collaborative graduate student training program between the University of Maryland and the NIDCD, which later became a model for the Graduate Partnerships Program at the NIH.

Wenthold published widely and was a highly cited researcher in brain science. In 1989, he cloned a member of the family of receptors for glutamate, and, a year later, he developed the first antibodies to these receptors.

In Memoriam: Francis LeBaron

Francis Newton LeBaron passed away Nov. 2 in Cape Cod, Mass., at age 87.

Born in Framingham, Mass., LeBaron attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating, he entered the U.S. Navy and served in the North Pacific on the USS Watts during World War II.

After being discharged from the navy, LeBaron obtained a master’s degree from Boston University and a doctorate in biochemistry from Harvard University. After a postdoctoral fellowship in England and 10 years of research in neurochemistry of the brain at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to help set up the University of New Mexico Medical School. He eventually served as chairman of the biochemistry department at the university while continuing his research on the aging of the brain.

LeBaron helped to establish the American Society for Neurochemistry and served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. After retirement from the University of New Mexico, he lived in Blue Hill, Maine, for a year and became a certified yacht surveyor.

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