Newswise — The Waksman Foundation for Microbiology mourns the passing of Dr. Frederick C. Neidhardt, former president of the Foundation. Neidhardt died on October 7, 2016.
Neidhardt served on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for nearly two decades and was the first non-Waksman family member to be entrusted with the leadership of the Foundation. He led the Foundation through a pivotal period of its development andworked tirelessly to continue to raise its profile and to cement its legacy. After hestepped down as president in 2007, the Foundation honored him by establishing the Neidhardt Lectureship, given at the beginning of the biennial Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Stress Response between 2010 and 2016.
Neidhardt was a graduate of Kenyon College in 1952 and obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1956. Following postdoctoral fellowships at the Pasteur Institute and Harvard University, he joined the faculty at Purdue University, where he rose through the professorial ranks.
In 1970, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he spent 30 years on the faculty and serving in many administrative leadership roles. In 2000, he retired as the University of Michigan’s F.G. Novy distinguished university professor emeritus.
In his later retirement years, he moved to the picturesque Academy Village, outside of Tucson, Ariz., where his ability to make friends and his thirst for learning distinguished him in the community.
During his prodigious scientific career, Neidhardt contributed over 200 papers, reviews, book chapters, reference tomes and textbooks. His research on the complexity of bacterial physiology and stress response launched a new subfield that has led to the ability to formulate predictive models of metabolic networks and their regulatory switches.
Although he was not actively involved in research in his later years, he continued toinspire the younger generation with his presence at and interest in scientific conferences.
Neidhardt served in many scientific leadership roles, including president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). His early career was ignited by the ASM, as he was awarded the Eli Lilly and Co. Award, recognizing a young, rising star in microbiology. He also received honorary degrees from several institutions, including Kenyon College, his undergraduate alma mater, Purdue University, and Sweden’s Umeå University. In addition to his scientific life, Neidhardt was deeply involved in social issues, such as equality for women, status of minorities, justice in the penal system, and treatment of immigrants.
Neidhardt was born in Philadelphia, Pa. to Adam and Carrie Neidhardt in May of 1931. He is survived by his daughter, Jane Neidhardt, and sons, Richard Neidhardt and Marc Chipault.
The Waksman Foundation is headquartered in the Biology Department at Swarthmore College.