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DR. HOWARD GREEN


1925 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
DR. HOWARD GREEN Obituary
GREEN, Dr. Howard After a long illness, Dr. Howard Green passed away on October 31, 2015. Dr. Green was born September 10, 1925 in Toronto, Canada. He received his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Toronto in 1947 and was to spend the rest of his life in medical research. After serving two years as a Captain in the U.S. Army, he began his career at New York University School of Medicine in 1956 and eventually rose to become Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology. From 1970 to 1980, he was a Professor of Cell Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1980, he became the George Higginson Professor of Cell Biology and Chairman of the Department Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. He stepped down as Chairman in 1993, but continued on as Professor and actively ran his laboratory until 2013. Over the years, Dr. Green's work focused mainly on the properties of cells growing in tissue culture. In 1961, his laboratory created and established lines of fibroblast cells using viral oncogenes. Further development in his laboratory and in others led to the 3T3 cell lines, which became the basis for much work on cellular oncogenes. In 1974, using the same lines of 3T3 cells for support; his laboratory developed a system that allowed the cultivation of large numbers of human skin cells. Sheets of these cultured cells behaved as skin grafts when applied to open wounds. These grafts were first tested on small burn wounds in the Burn Unit at the Brigham and Women's Hospital starting in 1978 and they regenerated a functioning epidermis in these patients. This method of taking a tiny skin sample from a patient and using it to generate enough cultured grafts to cover large areas of the body with the patients own cells was used in children with large burns for the first time in 1983 at the Shriners' Burn Hospital in Boston. This work in addition to being life saving was the first use of stem cells as a successful treatment in patients. In order to cope with the demand for these grafts, Dr. Green founded BioSurface Technology. The company was acquired by the Genzyme Corporation, where production continues to the present day. In recognition of this pioneering work, Dr. Green received multiple honors including membership in the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institut de France (Academie des Sciences). He was the President of Scientific Council, Institut Curie, Paris, France from 1999 to 2007. He was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, Republic of France, and received honorary Doctorates from the University of Connecticut, the University of G?teborg, Sweden, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Louisiana State University. In addition, he received the following awards: the Blaise Pascal Medal for Biology and Life Sciences of the European Academy of Sciences, 2007; the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, 2010; and the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, 2012. Dr. Green is survived by his wife of sixty-one years, Rosine Kauffmann Green, his brother Floyd, his niece Ingrid Fagen, and his nephew David, as well as an extended family in Canada, the United States, Australia, and France.

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Published in The Boston Globe on Nov. 8, 2015
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