Hommage à Paul Bornstein by Jeff Davidson (ASMB)

Paul Bornstein, MD 1934-2013

bornsteinWe sadly report the passing of a pioneer in modern matrix biology and a founder of the American Society for Matrix Biology. Paul had a positive influence on the development of many careers and a major role in defining and refining key concepts in both collagen structure and synthesis and matricellular — coined by him in 1995 — protein biochemistry. This latter insight was the first to convey the broader significance of extracellular matrix proteins beyond their structural roles, and the original 4 ECM protein families have grown to 14. Paul, a native of Belgium whose family escaped from the Nazi invasion in 1940, was a graduate of Cornell in 1954 and earned his MD from NYU in 1958. After a medical residency at Yale and a year at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, he satisfied his Coast Guard military duties while working with Karl Piez at the NIH, where he helped to define the primary structure of collagen. Paul spent his entire academic career in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Washington until he transitioned to emeritus status in 2007. During that time, he trained dozens of students and postdoctoral fellows who have pursued productive careers. His >300 publications reflect a diverse and always thoughtful approach to understanding how the extracellular matrix functions in a variety of circumstances. Paul served as President of both the ISMB (2001-2003) and the ASMB (2003-2004). Among many forms of recognition, he received the Solomon Berson Alumni Achievement Award from NYU School of Medicine in 2004. Paul resided in Santa Fe with his wife, Helene Sage.

On behalf of the ASMB,
Jeff Davidson, PhD