We note the passing of Bernard F. Erlanger, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University Medical Center. Bernie, as he was known to his colleagues, joined our department in 1952 after earning his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Columbia University in 1951, and remained a member of the department until he passed away on September 8, 2011. Dr. Erlanger served as director of the department’s graduate program for many years, then as Acting and Deputy Chair of the department, and was also the Chair of the Science & Technology Policy Committee at Columbia.
Dr. Erlanger had a distinguished career as a biochemist and immunologist, and his research interests were very broad. They included developing receptor specific antibodies using an auto-anti-idiotypic strategy, studying nucleic acid structure and conformation, investigating microtubule assembly, and developing antibodies to carbon nanotubules and fullerenes. He was an active inventor with over a dozen scientific patents, including patents for the creation and delivery of specific antibodies, detection of HIV, and treatment of HIV and sickle cell disease. Dr. Erlanger was the recipient of many scientific awards and honors throughout his career, including a Fulbright Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Townsend Harris Medal.