Environmental Factor, December 2008, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Former Council Member Weinstein Mourned
By Eddy Ball
On November 3, NIEHS lost a long-time friend and former member of its National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council with the death of I. Bernard (Bernie) Weinstein, M.D., Sci.D. (Hon.). Weinstein’s nearly five-decade career in cancer research came to close when he died in New York City at age 78 after experiencing kidney failure.
At the time of his death, Weinstein (http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/medicine/oncolhema/faculty/346.html) was the Frode Jensen professor of medicine, professor of Genetics and Development, and professor of Public Health at the Columbia University Medical Center. He was also director emeritus of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Weinstein was engaged in an aggressive research agenda elucidating the fundamental molecular mechanisms involved in multistage carcinogenesis as a quest to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies. He received many honors in recognition of his scientific and medical contributions, including selection as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
When he learned of his friend’s death, NIEHS Acting Director Sam Wilson, M.D., praised Weinstein’s contributions to the Institute. “He was an advisor to the director and deputy director on many topics in the environmental health sciences,” Wilson wrote, “and he was instrumental in helping the Institute launch the Environmental Genome Project in the late 1990s.”
In a tribute by the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), where he was a fellow, Weinstein was described as a pioneer in the fields of molecular carcinogenesis, preventive oncology and molecular epidemiology. Similarly, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which posted an obituary of the AACR member of 45 years, praised Weinstein’s “seminal contributions to basic cancer research, cancer prevention and translational research during his long and productive career.”
Weinstein is survived by his wife, Joan, three children and two grandchildren. He was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Madison, Wis., where he attended college and medical school at the University of Wisconsin and which he considered home.