In Memoriam:
A. Donny Strosberg (1945-2012)


A. Donny Strosberg, a professor in the Department of Infectology on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, died March 15. He was 67. He suffered a heart attack while in the hospital being treated for another ailment.

“I would like to send my deepest sympathies to Donny's family, friends, and colleagues,” said Scripps Research President Michael A. Marletta. “I wish I had had the opportunity to know him better. Those who did describe him as a warm, open, and optimistic man who was delighted to be part of the Scripps Research community. He will be deeply missed.”

“We stand under the shock of losing our dear and loyal colleague Donny Strosberg,” said Charles Weissmann, chair of the Department of Infectology. “Donny was one of the first faculty members to join Scripps Florida, in January 2005, and became a dedicated and productive member of the Department of Infectology. In doing so, he detached himself from his European roots to become an enthusiastic Florida citizen. Experienced, knowledgeable, and kind, he was generous with his help and advice to all that approached him. Scripps has lost a valuable and esteemed colleague.”

Born in a Swiss refugee camp in 1945 as his parents fled the Holocaust, Strosberg received his License in 1966 and doctorate in 1970 from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, he served as an instructor and later visiting professor at Harvard Medical School. He then returned to the Free University of Brussels as a faculty member, followed by a professorship at the University of Paris. From 1986 to 1990, he was chief of the unit of molecular biology of receptors at the Pasteur Institute, followed by eight years as director of the molecular immunopharmacology unit and vice president of the Cochin Institute of Molecular Genetics.

Strosberg became well-known in this period for his work on the genetic underpinnings of obesity.

In addition to his scientific achievements, Strosberg had a talent for business, co-founding biotechnology companies including Chemunex SA, Nouveau Marché, Incyte, Praecis, and Hybrigenics. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Hybrigenics from 1999 to late 2004, and remained a member of the company’s board of directors.

In his laboratory at Scripps Florida, Strosberg focused on the hepatitis C virus (HCV), pursuing a novel approach to attacking the virus, targeting the virus’s core protein. The core protein plays several roles in the viral cycle within the host cell, particularly in the assembly of the hepatitis C nucleocapsid (outer shell), an essential step in the formation of infectious viral particles. His laboratory also developed tests for monitoring these viral protein-protein interactions with the goal of identifying inhibitors that would block virus production.

Recently, Strosberg applied his new approach to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, again targeting the capsid protein. He also continued his work on metabolic diseases, developing a unique human brown pre-adipocyte cell line.

After being involved in the world of business for so many years, Strosberg enjoyed being back in the laboratory.

“In the years I’ve spent here in Florida, I have been able to devote more time to research,” he said in an interview published last year. “I have felt more like a young postdoc and it has been wonderful.”

Over the years, Strosberg trained 45 PhD candidates and nearly twice as many postdoctoral fellows. He received awards and honors from both US and European scientific organizations, held numerous patents, and published more than 410 scientific articles.

In addition to his position at Scripps Florida, Strosberg held an adjunct professorship at Florida Atlantic University, a permanent Professor chair at the University of Paris VII, and a consultancy position for the Pasteur Institute and multiple biotech companies. Strosberg was a member the European Molecular Biology Organization and the American Association of Immunologists, as well as an associate editor for Biologicals, Drug Discovery Today, Expert Reviews in Proteomics, Genetic Engineering News, and Frontiers in Cellular Endocrinology. He was also on the board of governors of St. Mary's Medical Center.

He is survived by his wife, Eliane, daughter, Muriel, son, Serge, and grandson, Joshua.

Friends, family, students, and collaborators are invited to attend his chapel service on Monday, March 19 at 12 PM at Star of David Funeral Chapel, 9321 Memorial Park Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33412. For more information, call (561) 627-2277 or visit

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