Leonard Herzenberg (November 5, 1931 – October 27, 2013)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
In recognition of an innovator in immunology: Leonard Herzenberg, inventor of the FACS machine.
Immunologist, geneticist, and philanthropist Dr. Leonard Herzenberg profoundly changed cell biology and immunology with the invention of the fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS ) machine. Herzenberg created the biotechnology in 1970, driven by the need for quantification of cell types during his novel work with hybridomas, which are monoclonal antibody producing B cells fused with cancer cells. The FACS, also referred to as a flow cytometer, allows scientists to sort, quantify, and identify different cells types, and has been vital to the field ever since its existence. Not only did his seminal biotechnology and research significantly advance what is known about lymphocyte biology, he used the royalties from the FACS to further fund his own research. Dr. Herzenberg’s ground breaking achievements earned him an array of awards, most notably the Kyoto Prize, a Japanese equivalent to the Nobel Prize. His priceless contributions will continue to impact basic science research indefinitely.