Mortimer L. Mendelsohn, MD, PhD, a renowned biosciences professor and researcher, died January 8, 2020, at the age of 94.
Mendelsohn was born in New York City in 1925. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1945, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1948, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1958.
Mendelsohn was a researcher and professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in Philadelphia. In the early part of his career, his research focused on cancer, understanding tumor growth, radiation effects, and genetic mutations. In 1972, he became a senior scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, serving ultimately as associate director of the Biosciences and Biotechnology Division. There, he and his colleagues helped decode human chromosomes in the Human Genome Project, developing high-tech devices to sort cells and analyze DNA, and developing ways for the federal government to defend the nation from biological weapons.
Mendelsohn also served as vice chairman of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan, and received the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure, one of Japan’s highest civilian awards.
Mendelsohn joined the AACR in 1959 as an active member. He served as a member of the AACR Board of Directors for the 1974-1977 term, and was an associate editor for Cancer Research from 1983 to 1987. He transferred to emeritus membership in 2005.