RONALD BRESLOW C.D.

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  • "May you rest in peace , Dr.Ronald Breslow, and have no more..."
    - Catherine Donlon
  • "May your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of joyful..."
    - AC
  • "He was a man who changed many lives, including mine. He..."
    - Thomas Miller
  • "Ron had a terrific sense of humor and incredible curiousity..."
    - Mark Schwartz
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BRESLOW--Ronald C.D.

on October 25, 2017. Dr. Breslow was a renowned organic chemist, esteemed Columbia University Professor, and beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Born in Rahway, NJ, he went on to Harvard where he earned his A.B. in chemistry, his A.M. in Biochemistry, and his PhD. in organic chemistry. He joined Columbia in 1956, where he taught and conducted research for over 60 years until his death. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and former President of the American Chemical Society, he received more than 75 national and international awards for his research, teaching, and professional roles. His honors for scientific research include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Priestley Medal, the Roussel Prize, the James Flack Norris Prize, the T.W. Richards Medal, the Arthur C. Cope Award, the Kenner Award, the Nichols Medal, the Allan Day Award, and the Paracelsus Award. At Columbia, he was the Samuel Latham Mitchell Professor of Chemistry and past Chairman of the Chemistry Department. His University honors include the Alexander Hamilton Award, Mark Van Doren Award, the Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation in Science, Technology and the Great Teacher Award. He is also known for leading the charge to take Columbia Co-Ed, chairing the committee and authoring the "Breslow Report" which concluded that Columbia College could become co-educational without damage to Barnard. He has been elected to the U. S. National Academy, the Royal Society of Britain, the Japanese Chemical Society, the Korean Chemical Society, and the Chemical Research Society of India. His research focused on the design and synthesis of new molecules, and the study of these properties. He also co-dis- covered the histone deacetylase inhibitor SAHA (Vorinostat) which is FDA-approved for the treatment of several cancers and is currently in other trials, including for the treatment of AIDS. He is considered the father of the field of Biomimetic Chemistry, coining the phrase in the mid-1950s to describe "new chemistry based on the principles used in nature." The Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, awarded annually by the ACS, is named in his honor. When not immersed in chemistry, Ron loved playing the piano and spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Esther. They met at Harvard Graduate School, where he proposed to Esther in the laboratory. Esther, a PhD in biochemistry, taught and conducted research at Cornell Medical College. Ronald used some of the proceeds from his SAHA discovery to establish the Ronald and Esther Breslow Professorship in Organic or Biological Chemistry, because, in his words, "my wife likes the idea that, 100 years from now, we're going to be together on this." Ron is also survived by his daughters Stephanie and Karen Breslow, his sister Diane Orton, and his grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. A memorial service will be held at on October 29th, 4pm at "The Riverside," 76th St. and Amsterdam Ave. Donations in his memory may be made to the Columbia University Chemistry Department.

Published in The New York Times on Oct. 27, 2017
Arrangements under the direction of:
Riverside Memorial Chapel
180 West 76th Street | New York, NY 10023 | (212) 362-6600
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