Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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PAUL D. GOTTLIEB
The University lost an outstanding teacher, research scientist, and administrator with the death on November 1, 2003, of Paul Gottlieb, professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and director of the School of Biological Sciences. Paul was born December 4, 1943, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of Arthur and Beatrice Gottlieb. His early interest in biology led to his receiving a B.A. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University in 1965. This was followed by graduate study at The Rockefeller University, where he was a student of Gerald Edelman. It was at Rockefeller that he met his future wife Nell, also a graduate student. They were married in December 1969. After receiving a Ph.D. in 1971, Paul worked at Rockefeller for a short period as a postdoctoral fellow, followed by postdoctoral study at Stanford University from 1971-73.
Paul’s first faculty appointment was in 1973 as assistant professor in the Department of Biology and the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1977, he was promoted to associate professor. In 1980, he was persuaded to move to The University of Texas at Austin as professor of microbiology, a position he continued to hold at the time of his death.
Paul was recognized internationally as a major contributor to understanding of the immune system. He authored or co-authored over seventy publications describing his research on the nature of the immune response, working primarily with mice as models for other mammalian systems. His earlier studies focused on the structure and function of antibodies. These studies helped lay the groundwork for understanding the process of allelic exclusion, a phenomenon that occurs in immune cells and in other rare instances but is contrary to classical Mendelian predictions. His research focus eventually turned to the understanding of how the T cells of the immune system work, particularly the cytotoxic (“killer”) cells that recognize and destroy other cells of the body that are infected with foreign agents such as viruses. During the course of these studies, Paul discovered a new gene that is important not only for T-cell function but also for development of the cardiovascular system in mouse embryos and, by extension, in humans as well.
Paul’s common sense, affable personality, and understanding of and concern for others led inevitably to his being asked to assume administrative duties. In 1997, he became chair of the Department of Microbiology and continued as chair of the Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology when the biological sciences were reorganized in 1999. In 2001, he became director of the School of Biological Sciences, which includes all the sections of biology and is especially responsible for instruction of lower level biology courses. As director of the school, he had a real vision for the biological sciences at the University. Paul worked unceasingly to maintain and improve instruction in the biology classrooms and laboratories. He expanded programs and helped increase funding for biological research and for graduate and undergraduate education. As such, his legacy to the University and science will be enduring. His own dedication to teaching led to his receiving a College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2001. He excelled also as a mentor for many undergraduates, graduate students, and post doctoral fellows.
Paul’s strong interest in academics did not prevent his being very active in other areas. His slight build belied the fact that he was active in sports: lacrosse, soccer, and basketball in high school; soccer at Princeton; softball and soccer on UT departmental teams; golf; sailing, especially around Wood’s Hole; skiing; and in later years windsurfing and snowboarding. He was a coach of his daughter’s youth soccer team. Paul liked music and was reputed to know the words to every Gilbert and Sullivan opera. He was rather gregarious and promoted departmental parties, in which he was a conspicuous participant. When he became director of the School of Biological Sciences, he began a series of Wednesday afternoon “teas,” to which all faculty and eventually all graduate students were invited, thus encouraging people from different sections and buildings to get together and learn more about other areas of research on campus. He was also an active participant in Town and Gown, an organization of academic and nonacademic Austinites who get together for presentations and discussions of a variety of intellectual topics.
Paul’s death at age 59 from liver cancer, diagnosed only five months earlier, was a shock and loss for everyone who knew him and especially for his graduate students and the UT community. Paul was survived by his wife, Dr. Nell Gottlieb; by his mother, Beatrice Gottlieb; his brother, Dr. Michael Gottlieb; and by his daughter, Dr. Erin Gottlieb, and her husband, Dr. Eric A. Bedell. He was very gratified to learn shortly before his death that he was to become the grandfather of Julia Paige Bedell, who was born on June 2, 2004.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Karen J. Artzt (chair), Ian J. Molineux, and Jaquelin P. Dudley.