Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Emeritus
Stephen Zamenhof died on February 4, 1998 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 86. He was born on June 12, 1911 in Warsaw, Poland. He came to the USA in 1939, where he finished his graduate training and received the Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Columbia University in New York. He had achieved the status of associate professor of biochemistry at Columbia University prior to coming to UCLA in 1964 as professor of microbial genetics and biological chemistry.
Stephen Zamenhof retired officially in 1978 after a productive and distinguished career. He was recalled to active status for some period thereafter and continued to make important contributions in fields at the forefront of biochemical research until a few years before his death, publishing a total of 250 scientific papers during his lifetime. In addition to establishing himself as a leader in research in the fields of nucleic acids and biochemical genetics, Zamenhof very early in his career began studies on the biochemistry of prenatal brain development. Among his most important seminal contributions to brain research was the finding that growth hormone had profound stimulatory effects on the proliferation of cortical neurons. He later demonstrated that other hormones also affected brain development and that maternal dietary restriction had an important inhibitory effect on cell number and protein content in neonatal brain. These findings were among the first to provide clear scientific evidence of the importance of environmental influences on brain development, a field which has since become of great scientific, medical and even social significance. Throughout his professional life, Zamenhof received recognition for his research accomplishments and promise, including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958-59.
Stephen Zamenhof was also a beacon and provided significant personal support to his students and colleagues. As more time for extramural activities became available to him after retirement, he took pleasure in the hobby of sculpting and delighted in presenting his work at the annual Emeriti Arts and Crafts Exhibitions sponsored by the UCLA Emeriti Association.
Stephen Zamenhof is survived by his wife, Patrice J. Zamenhof, professor emerita of biological chemistry at UCLA.