Gerald Edelman, 84, Nobel laureate, Neurosciences Institute founding director
May 22, 2014 | 2524 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gerald Edelman, whose discoveries on cell growth and adhesion and the structure of antibodies led to his Nobel prize in 1972, died of natural causes Saturday, May 17, in his La Jolla home. He was 84.

Edelman, a founding director of La Jolla's The Neurosciences Institute and a former professor of neurobiology at The Scripps Institute, earned him and Rodney Porter a Nobel prize in physiology or medicine. Later, Edelman sought to construct theories on sustained consciousness. He was also said to have extensive knowledge of music, the visual arts and literature.

Edelman's work led to the discovery and creation of antibody drugs, used today in diagnostics and treatment. In 1967, he and Joseph Gally correctly suggested that immune cells that create antibodies actually shift their genetic make-up – this was an especially radical thought at the time, as genes were thought to fixed.

Edelman wrote more than 500 research papers and published a series of books on the phenomenon of consciousness.

The New York native earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. He was a captain in the Army Medical Corps, working in France; he later earned a doctorate and joined the faculty at what is known today as Rockefeller University.

Edelman is survived by his wife, Maxine Morrison; sons Eric and David Edelman; and daughter Judith Edelman. The family suggests that donations in his memory be made to the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. in La Jolla, or to the Neurosciences Research Foundation, 800 Silverado St., Suite 302, La Jolla, 92037.

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