Aaron J. Shatkin ’56, H’79

Aaron J. Shatkin ’56, H’79 died on June 4, 2012, at his home in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

He was born on July 18, 1934 in Providence, and graduated from Nelson Aldrich High School. A member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, he graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He studied at Columbia and Stanford universities, and he earned his doctorate in microbiology from Rockefeller University in 1961. He served as a senior assistant scientist in the Public Health Service from 1961 to 1963. He was a professor of molecular genetics, microbiology, and immunology, and was a member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and university professor of molecular biology at Rutgers University. He was the founding director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM). He was mentored by Dr. Edward Tatum, 1958 Nobel laureate in medicine, and was trained and worked at the N.I.H., the Salk Institute, and The Rockefeller University. His zeal for science led to the discovery of mRNA capping and other fundamental contributions to gene expression mechanisms in animal cells and viruses. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology. In honor of his scientific achievements, Bowdoin granted him an honorary doctorate of science in 1979. He also was recognized with the U.S. Steel Award in molecular biology from the National Academy of Sciences, the Thomas Alva Edison Science Award, the New Jersey Pride Award in Science and Technology, and the Association of American Medical Colleges 2003 Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences, as well as the Outstanding Medical Research Scientist Award for Basic Biomedical Research by the Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Foundation. In 2008, he was named one of New Jersey’s Top 10 Scientists by New Jersey Business, and in 2011, he received the Honorary Alumni Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Alumni Association. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is survived by a son, Greg M. Shatkin; a brother, Leon Shatkin; and two sisters, Frances Yarlas and Marla Shatkin-Margolis. He was predeceased by his wife, Joan, whom he married in 1957, and by a brother, Steve Stevens.

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