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John Bernard Arado spacee Lois B. Epstein

Lois Barth Epstein, M.D., a leading contributor in the field of cancer research, skilled artist, and active member of the Tiburon community, died on Friday, February 6, at the age of 81, after a brief illness. Epstein served as a role model for other women in her ability to balance her scientific career, her family, her art, and community service.
Epstein was born on December 29, 1933, in Cambridge, MA, the daughter of Benjamin and Mary Barth. Her mother encouraged her to become a doctor at an early age, and at Brookline High School, she fell in love with chemistry, and recognized that she wanted to help people through medicine.
In her freshmen year at Radcliffe College, Epstein met her husband and life partner, Charles Epstein, on the steps of Radcliffe's Barnard Hall on a blind date. She graduated with an A.B. cum laude in chemistry in 1955, and then entered Harvard Medical School as one of only eight women in a class of 125. She married in 1956, and graduated from HMS in 1959.
After a series of medical fellowships, Epstein moved to San Francisco and joined UCSF's Cancer Research Institute as a research physician, later becoming the Associate Director. She became a Professor of Pediatrics in 1980, and retired from UCSF in 1996. In 1997, she received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.
Epstein was a pioneer in the research of interferons – a set of proteins that play a critical role in fighting viral infections and regulating the immune system. She treated thousands of patients and authored more than 100 papers. Together with her husband, she developed the first mouse model for Down syndrome, an achievement that has been the basis for the huge advancement in the world's understanding of Down syndrome.
As important as her research was, Epstein placed even more importance on training and mentoring other scientists, and in particular, female scientists. She trained more than forty students, fellows, and scientists in her laboratory, and served as a mentor and adviser to hundreds of others.
Retirement was only a new beginning for Epstein. She reinvented herself as an artist, studying glass art at Pilchuck Glass School, The Studio at Corning, and the Hui Art Center. She expanded her already extensive work in the community, working with the Marin Youth Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Marin Dance Association, and most notably the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. She was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame in 2002.
Epstein was a scientist, physician, artist, mother, sister, teacher, mentor, and friend to many. Her memorial service was held February 11 at Congregation Kol Shofar, and she was interred at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery. The family asks that anyone that wishes to remember her do so through donations to Buck Institute for Age Research, the Belvedere-Tiburon Library, or Harvard Medical School.

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