Howard A. Bern
bern

Howard A. Bern


Howard A. Bern Expert on effects of hormones, has died at 91 Howard A. Bern, Professor (Emeritus) of Integrative Biology and Research Endocrinologist, Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, died at his home, from complications of cancer, in Berkeley, California, January 3, 2012, at the age of 91. Bern was an endocrinologist whose research in the 1960s on diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic hormone given to women to prevent premature birth, helped scientists understand its role in causing cancer. "Bern's ground-breaking work on DES, which affected millions of people exposed in utero, was critical in the development of studies in this area," said developmental endocrinologist Tyrone Hayes, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. Bern co-authored with Aubrey Gorbman, A Textbook of Comparative Endocrinology in 1962. According to Stacia A. Sower, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Hampshire, it "contained concepts that were key to the development of the emerging field of comparative endocrinology and guided the thinking and careers of a vast number of scientists around the world." Sower describes Bern as "one of the most truly great scientists I have ever known. He is a giant and one of the founding fathers in our field of comparative endocrinology." In 2001 the Howard A. Bern Distinguished Lecture in Comparative Endocrinology was inaugurated by the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. Bern was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1972 and the Berkeley Citation in 1990 at the University of California, Berkeley, one of only a few who have won both awards. He was member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. He was elected a member of national science societies throughout the world and received honorary degrees in many countries. Bern's greatest commitment was to his students and their development. His laboratories embraced diversity in all respects beginning in the late 1940s. For Bern, diversity was a fundamental premise of the inquiring environment. Students from every U.S. ethnic group and from all parts of the world worked in his labs. Bern was born in Montreal, Canada, on January 30, 1920, and moved to Los Angeles, in 1933. He received his B.A. in 1941 and his Ph.D. in 1948 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He served in the Pacific during WWII (1942-6). He began as an Instructor in the Zoology Department at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1948, and spent the rest of his career there. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Estelle; sister, Judy Brooker of Palm Springs, Calif.; brother, Gordon Bern of Laguna Hills, Calif.; two children, Lauren Bern of Madison, Wisc., and Alan Bern of Berkeley; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. A Memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m., Sunday, June 17, 2012, in the Faculty Club's Great Hall, University of California, Berkeley. Donations may be made in memory of Professor Howard A. Bern either to Doctors without Borders or to the American Civil Liberties Union. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/01/09/uc-professor-howard-bern-pioneer-in-endocrinology-dies/
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on February 5, 2012

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