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A Tribute to Endocrinologist Howard Bern

Howard Bern, a world-renownedendocrinology expert died on January 3, 2012. He was 91 years old.  A professor emeritus of the University ofCalifornia, Berkeley, he remains most famous for co-authoring the book, Atextbook of comparative endocrinology.

Bern was born in Canada in1920 and moved to Los Angeles in 1933 with his family. He received his Ph.D.from the University of California, Los Angeles and also served in the militaryduring World War II. He began his research and teaching career at UC Berkeleyin 1948 and never left.

A quick Pubmed search for Bern's papers reveals that he published more than 300 papers and the mostrecent one in 2008, with the title 'From fish tail to human brain.' Indeed Bern's research focused on the role of hormones in development includinghuman development. Bern recognized the importance of hormones indevelopment and cancer; his research in 1960s elucidate how the synthetichormone diethylstilbestrol affects fetal development and causes cancer. He wasa member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of AAAS. He was alsoawarded many honorary doctorates and other accolades.

Bern was also awell-respected teacher; he was awarded the UC Berkeley distinguished teachingaward in 1972 and he was committed to student development as much as he wascommitted to science.  For this, he wasawarded the National Science Foundation Presidential Mentoring Award in2005. 

As we remember Bern and celebrate his enduringlegacy, it is only fitting that we take away what he believed in the most, thatone's legacy to science is not the work that you do, but thepeople you leave behind'

UC Berkeley: Howard Bern, expert on effects of hormones, has died at 91