Dr. Edward H. Birkenmeier (1947-1996)
Dr. Birkenmeier was a member of the scientific staff of The Jackson Laboratory for sixteen years and a Senior Staff Scientist for five. In his research program Ed used a molecular genetic approach to develop and study mouse models of human diseases, especially lysosomal storage disease, inflammatory bowel disease and polycystic kidney disease.
In 1992, Dr. Birkenmeier and his colleagues carried out one of the first successful experiments in gene replacement therapy by correcting the genetic defect in the mouse model for MPS VII lysosomal storage disease.
In addition to his research interests, Ed was active in the training programs at the Laboratory, serving as co-director of the annual Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics and of a graduate course in Experimental Genetics of the Laboratory Mouse now transitioned to Experimental Models of Human Cancer. Ed had a keen interest in human evolution, keeping current with the literature and presenting lectures on the subject in the Short Course. He also developed a highly successful two week Bacteriology Course for second graders at the local elementary school. The course has continued and, with the support of the Jackson Laboratory Education Office and volunteers from the staff, has expanded to include all of the schools on Mount Desert Island and schools in Trenton, Ellsworth, Dedham, Blue Hill and Cranberry Islands.