Memorial Service for


June 27, 2003
Legion of Honor
San Francisco, CA

Underlined names are links to individual talks.


Ira Herskowitz came to UCSF as a Full Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1981. He was just 35 years old, but was already recognized widely for his elegant and illuminating genetic studies of the l bacteriophage and the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. His 22 years at UCSF witnessed expansion of his interests to topics in cell biology and to human genetics, and a continuing stream of fascinating discoveries. Ira's two most recent papers described the variation in drug transporter genes among people of different ethnic groups, and were published on the day he died.

Ira came to fully embrace, indeed to embody, the UCSF culture--a style of interaction and community characterized by sharing broadly the burdens of academic pursuits and sharing openly the excitement of research ideas and results conducted at the highest and most demanding level. His years at UCSF were marked by countless examples of his dedication to what he referred to as "the greater good."

Ira chaired the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics from 1990-1995, served as Director of the Genetics Graduate Program from 1981-2001 and was appointed Co-director of the Program in Human Genetics in 1996. But it was as a teacher that he left his mark so indelibly in the fabric of this institution. He coordinated and taught the Graduate Course in Genetics for these many years, immersing entering graduate students in the genetics of l and yeast, simplifying complex genetic regulatory networks into understandable concepts. An indefatigable teacher, he sent to other lecturing faculty detailed comments on lecture style and content that sometimes filled several written pages. He led by example and genuinely wanted others to achieve comparable levels of clarity and style. And as a committed geneticist, he sought to convert everyone he could to appreciate the powers of the method. He was "a teacher's teacher", "a scientist's scientist."

A member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ira received many honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology and Immunology, the National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing, the Genetics Society of America Medal, the Holly Smith Award for Exceptional Service to the UCSF School of Medicine, the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for Lifetime Contribution, and the Rosenstiel Award. Ira leaves his parents, Reida and Irwin, his sister, Mara, his brothers Joel and Alan, his nieces and nephew, Laurel Dumont, Tara Makhmali, Nika Makhmali, Sylvan Herskowitz, and many friends and colleagues the world over.




- Tom Kornberg, Vice-Chair, Department of Biochemistry,
..... UCSF

- Haile Debas, Dean, School of Medicine, UCSF
- Regis Kelly, Executive Vice Chancellor, UCSF
- Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences
- Joel Herskowitz, M.D. Pediatric Neurology,
.....Tufts-New England Medical Center
- Kathy Giacomini, Chair, Department of
..... Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Music: Return to Sender

MIT 1967-1971
- David Botstein, Director, Institute for Integrative
..... Genomics, Princeton University

OREGON 1972-1981
- Frank Stahl, ACS Professor, Institute of Molecular
..... Biology, University of Oregon
- Jasper Rine, Department of Molecular and
..... Cell Biology, UC Berkeley

Music: Nights in the Cold Room

UCSF 1981-2003
- Keith Yamamoto, Chair, Department of Molecular
..... and Cellular Pharmacology, UCSF
- Paul Sternberg, Division of Biology, California Institute
..... of Technology
- Anita Sil, Department of Microbiology and
..... Immunology, UCSF
- Sandy Johnson, Department of Microbiology and
..... Immunology, UCSF

Music: Take Me Home, TWA

- Charles Epstein, Director, Program in Human Genetics;
..... Department of Pediatrics, UCSF
- Cynthia Kenyon, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics,
..... UCSF; President, GSA

Music: Will the Circle be Unbroken
(performed by Jody Yeary, Nathan Ladyzhensky,
Danny Heines)


Background is a graphic description of a biological process,
hand-drawn by Ira Herskowitz. Ira was famous for these visuals,
which became known as "Iragrams."


Memories ~ p. 1 | p. 2 | p. 3 | p. 4 | p. 5 | p. 6

Scientific Contributions :: Living Memorial Fund :: UCSF Laboratory

Program design by LauraJBaxter, text by Tom Kornberg.