Lois B. Epstein, M.D., D.Sc. Lois Barth Epstein, M.D., a leading physician-scientist, died on Friday at the age of 81, after a brief illness. Dr. Epstein served as a role model for others in her ability to balance a scientific career, her family, her art, and her community service. Epstein was born on December 29, 1933 in Cambridge, MA, the daughter of Benjamin and Mary Barth. At high school, she fell in love with science and the idea of helping people. Epstein went to Radcliffe, where she met her husband, Charles Epstein, on a blind date. She graduated cum laude in chemistry in 1955 and entered Harvard Medical School. They married in 1956. Epstein graduated from HMS in 1959. After fellowships in Bethesda and Seattle, Epstein moved to San Francisco to join the Cancer Research Institute at UCSF, later becoming the Associate Director. She became a professor at UCSF in 1980. Epstein was a pioneer in the research of interferons - proteins that play a critical role in the immune system. She treated thousands of patients and authored more than 100 papers. With her husband, she developed the first mouse model for Down syndrome, an achievement that has been the basis for a huge advancement in the world's understanding of that illness. As important as her research was, Epstein placed greater importance in training and mentoring other scientists, particularly female scientists. Following her retirement, Epstein reinvented herself as an artist, studying glass art at Pilchuck, Corning and Hui Arts. Epstein held many community board roles, including with the Marin Symphony and the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. She was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame in 2002. Epstein was preceded in death by her husband, Charles. She is survived by her children, David (Abigail) Epstein, Jonathan (Andrea) Epstein, Paul (Jennifer) Epstein and Joanna (Dan) Bornstein. She is survived by six grandchildren and her brothers and sisters-in-law. A memorial service was held on Wednesday, February 11, at 11:00AM, at Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. Epstein will be interred at Mt. Tam Cemetery in San Rafael. Sinai Memorial in SF is handling the arrangements. For more information, call 415-350-7887. Dr. Epstein's family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her memory to support the Buck Institute for Age Research, the Belvedere-Tiburon Library, or Harvard Medical School.
Published in Marin Independent Journal from Feb. 10 to Feb. 15, 2015.