We have learned of the deaths of the following members of the College of Chemistry community. Listed below are their names, UC Berkeley degree(s), and information about their academic and work history if known. We have also provided a link to an online obituary when available.
Liane Reif-Lehrer Ph.D. '60 Chem
(11/06/2019) Scientist, feminist, wife, mother, teacher, poet, and ballroom dancer died November 6th after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 84. Born to Gerschon Reif, a dentist, and Klara (Chaja Lea) Gottfried Reif, she lived along with her older brother Frederich (1927-2019) in Vienna, Austria until 1939. She fled the Nazis with her mother and brother on the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis, which was bound for Cuba with 937 Jewish refugees but forced to return to Europe, where they disembarked in France. In September 1941 they managed to emigrate, sponsored by relatives in New York City. She attended Erasmus Hall High School, Barnard College (BA, 1956), and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD, Chemistry, 1960).
After a year of round-the-world travel with her husband Sam (Sherwin Lehrer, Ph.D. ’61, Chem), and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, from 1966-1985 she was a research scientist at the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and a faculty member (1978-1985) and Director of the Office of Academic Affairs (1981-1983) at Harvard Medical School. She went on to start the consulting firm Erimon Associates which specialized in grant writing and published Writing a Successful Grant Application. In 1981 she founded the Women in Science Network to help navigate the challenges of career advancement. She is survived by her husband of 59 years Sherwin (Sam) Lehrer, and her children Damon Lehrer of Lexington, MA (with wife Aimee LeBrun and grandson Nathan Huckleberry Lebrun Lehrer), and Erica Lehrer of Montreal, QC.
Learn more about Liane’s life in this oral history interview.
John Francis Heil B.S. '57 ChemE; Ph.D. '65 ChemE
(01/12/2019) Born San Francisco, CA. John attended UC Berkeley, immediately gravitating toward the sciences. He graduated in 1957 with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering, while fulfilling an army commission through the R.O.T.C. program, which he remained involved in after his return from active duty at Fort Lee, VA in 1958. With his B.S. in hand, John began his career with Stauffer Chemical. Stauffer supported and nurtured the young engineer, and encouraged him to move forward with his education. John went back to UC Berkeley, this time obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1965. His Ph.D. dissertation was with John Prausnitz, reflected in a paper, "Phase Equilibria in Polymer Solutions", AIChE Journal, v. 12, pp. 678-685 (1966).
These two relationships were critical for John. He remained with Stauffer through many iterations and promotions, and remained tightly linked to the College of Chemistry, taking on an advisory board position there in 1985. When he tried to resign as chairman from the advisory board in 1987, then Dean of the College Brad Moore personally asked John to stay and undertake some personal projects for him, which John enthusiastically accepted. He and the Advisory Board at that time had a significant role in starting what became the Tan Hall project.
Arthur B. Pardee B.S. '42 Chem; (Ph.D. '47 Chem with Linus Pauling at CalTech)
(02/24/2019) Born Chicago, Ill. Dr. Arthur Pardee's (Art) numerous and diverse contributions to molecular and cancer biology will never be forgotten. In a field where most of us would be thrilled to make one major contribution, Art's legacy is vast, having shaped disparate areas of research including enzymology, DNA repair, gene regulation, cell-cycle control, and novel technologies that ushered in the era of global gene expression profiling. His seminal findings contributed to numerous aspects of biology as we understand them today. He was a pioneer in the discipline we now call translational research and his many contributions, which applied basic research discoveries in the laboratory to preclinical studies, helped move several treatment strategies more seamlessly to the clinic. But Art's legacy is not only defined by his many important discoveries. He trained hundreds of students and postdoctoral fellows who became successful scientists in their own right.
He held four long-term positions in academia: faculty member at Berkeley from 1947 to 1961; chair of the Biomedical Sciences department at Princeton University from 1961 to 1975; professor at Harvard Medical School from 1975 to 1992, and researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from 1975 to the time of his death. Learn more about his career here.
William Austin Pryor Ph.D.'54 Chem
(03/13/2019) Born St. Louis, MO. William was the Boyd Professor of Chemistry, and the founding Director of both the Biodynamics Institute and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, at Louisiana State University (LSU). After junior-high he completely skipped high school and was accepted at the University of Chicago with a scholarship, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Ph.B. in philosophy in 1948 and a B.S. in chemistry in 1951. He was awarded his Ph.D. in chemistry by UC Berkeley in 1954. After six years teaching at Berkeley, he taught at Purdue University, and then moved to LSU. He was promoted to Boyd Professor in 1972. He was the Founder and Director of the Biodynamics Institute that did research on biological oxidation and its role in human diseases. He was appointed the first Director of the Pennington Biochemical Research Center.
He was one of the first scientists to propose that free radicals and other oxidants can initiate chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. He was ranked as one of the 300 most cited life scientists in the World. He worked with five Nobel Prize winners: Linus Pauling (protein structure), Melvin Calvin (photosynthesis), William Libby (radio-carbon dating), Albert Szent-Gyorgi (Vitamin C), and Louis Ignarro (nitric oxide as a hormone). Dr. Pryor published more than 800 articles and more than 30 books, including the first textbook on free radicals. Learn more about his life.