Hopkins to Name Department for Harry
The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health will name its Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in honor of Harry Feinstone, a retired pharmaceutical researcher and executive from Memphis, Tenn., who earned his doctor of science degree in biology and chemistry at the school in 1939.
"We are delighted to acknowledge Dr. Feinstone's immense contribution to the public's health through his long career in the pharmaceutical industry and his generous support of the school," said Alfred Sommer, dean of the School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Feinstone has made a seven-figure pledge to the Campaign for Johns Hopkins; his gift will establish an endowment at the school to support the recruitment and early careers of outstanding young scientists in molecular microbiology and immunology.
"Making this gift gives me gratification that I don't know how to express," Feinstone said. "The School of Hygiene and Public Health has had a hand in controlling and, in many cases, eradicating certain diseases worldwide through the people trained here. This endowment will assist young scientists with their early research in a field that is the basis of all new knowledge in combating infectious disease."
Daniel Nathans, interim president of the university, praised Feinstone for his support of the basic sciences, "the bedrock on which the public's health is built."
Hopkins faculty "are battling new scourges like AIDS and cancer, and continue to fight old enemies such as tuberculosis and malaria," Nathans said. "Harry Feinstone's gift will ensure that this vital and important work is continued for posterity and will contribute to the continued improvement of the health of people everywhere."
As a doctoral student at Hopkins in the 1930s, Feinstone said, he learned from faculty whose work helped to form the foundation of modern public health research and practice.
"It was a tremendously exciting time," he recalled. "I studied with faculty who were giants in every field of medicine and public health. There were discoveries and advances during those years at Hopkins that had a worldwide impact on public health."
Feinstone's 37-year career in pharmaceutical produced its own share of advances in public health, as he participated in the development of sulfa drugs, broncho-dilators, and many over-the- counter drugs ranging from infant colic drops to Di-Gel.
After earning his Hopkins degree, Feinstone worked at American Cyanamid, where he researched and developed sulfa drugs. From the mid-1940s through 1957, he was a consultant in product and drug development for several companies, including Warner- Lambert, which marketed one of Feinstone's products as Anahist, the first non-prescription cold remedy.
His long-time association with Plough (later Schering- Plough), as vice president for research and development from 1958 until 1976, helped make the company one of the world's largest manufacturers of cosmetics and over-the-counter drugs. After his retirement from Schering-Plough, Feinstone served until 1993 as research professor at the University of Memphis, where he supported development of a concentration in molecular biology and endowed the Feinstone Professorship in Molecular Biology.
The Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health is one of the largest and oldest departments of its kind in the nation. The curriculum is unusual in that it integrates the many disciplines concerned with the study of infectious organisms responsible for human disease and the immune response to these organisms. Diseases being studied include many of the most important threats to public health: malaria, measles, mosquito-borne viruses, AIDS, and tuberculosis.
Feinstone's pledge has helped bring the Johns Hopkins Initiative to $586 million in total commitments, 65 percent of its overall goal of $900 million for The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
The Initiative, launched publicly in 1994, is scheduled to end in 2000. Its primary aim is to raise at least $525 million for endowment and for various construction and renovation projects. Over 71 percent of that goal has been met.
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