October 2, 2006

Pharmacology professor emeritus dies at 70

Philip Hoffmann, neuropharmacologist and University professor emeritus, died on July 21 after a long fight with prostate cancer. He was 70.

Hoffmann possessed an immense amount of quiet courage and good humor throughout his battle with cancer, said Eugene Goldwasser, the Alice Hogge and Arthur A. Baer professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Dr. Hoffmann was professor emeritus in the department of neurobiology, pharmacology and physiology. For more than two decades Hoffmann worked with his colleagues Alfred Heller and Beatrice Garber to determine how certain brain neurons form proper connections. Their research helped them study the effects of drugs and drug abuse on neurons in the brain.

Hoffmann was known on campus as a committed and inspirational teacher, compelling some undergraduates to pursue degrees in pharmacology. His work in the College won him numerous awards. After his formal retirement, Hoffmann extended his work beyond the medical sector, teaching courses that explored the social and political implications of pharmacology.

“He was an extraordinarily generous, warm and friendly person,” said Donald Steiner, the A.N. Pritzker professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. “He was most influential in the University through his research and especially his teaching both in the medical school and in the College. He helped many students to become successful when they were having academic trouble. He was a gem.”

A memorial service for Hoffmann will be held on October 3rd at 3 p.m. in the Donnelley Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 East 57th Street, Room 109/115.

—Dasha Vinogradsky