In Memoriam: Summer/Fall 2021

In Memoriam: Summer/Fall 2021

Director of Stem Cell Research Institute Paul Frenette, M.D.

Paul S. Frenette, M.D., age 56, professor of medicine and of cell biology and the founding director and chair of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Einstein, died on July 26, 2021, of angiosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in New York City.

A pioneer in hematopoietic stem-cell research, Dr. Frenette made breakthrough observations that helped advance the understanding of vascular biology, sickle-cell disease, cancer, and stem-cell biology. He was able to make a series of discoveries relating to the production and release of hematopoietic stem cells from their “niche” in the bone marrow; the mechanisms by which the abnormal red cells in sickle-cell anemia clump within blood vessels, leading to sickle-cell crises; and the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating the growth of prostate- cancer and leukemia cells.

An effective, engaging, and supportive leader, Dr. Frenette hired and mentored eight successful junior faculty members to grow the Gottesman Stem Cell Institute into a major research establishment.

“Paul Frenette’s untimely passing is a great loss to the Einstein community, not only because of his brilliant scientific research but also because of his exemplary human qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness, and respect for others,” said Dr. Gottesman, chair of Einstein’s Board of Trustees. “My husband and I were strong supporters of Paul’s work, not only because of the quality of his research, but also because of his outstanding qualities as a person. We will miss him tremendously.”

Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and vice president and chief academic officer at Montefiore, echoed that sentiment: “Paul was a gifted scientist, wise mentor, exceptional leader, and an even better human being.”

A native of Canada, Dr. Frenette received his medical degree from Université Laval in Quebec City, followed by residency training at McGill University in Montreal; he completed a clinical fellowship in hematology-oncology at Tufts–New England Medical Center in Boston. After a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Frenette joined the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1998 and was recruited to Einstein in 2010. 

Dr. Frenette is survived by his wife, Nadine, and children, Clara and Alberic.

Montefiore Trustee Oded Aboodi

Oded Aboodi, committed Montefiore Medicine Board of Trustees vice-chair as well as Montefiore Medicine and Montefiore Health System treasurer, died August 15, 2021, at age 79 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Mr. Aboodi brought immense expertise to his volunteer leadership positions, including serving as chair of the finance committee and member of the executive and compensation committees. A certified public accountant, he acted as chairman and chief executive officer of Alpine Resources LLC, and organizer and chairman of Alpine Capital Bank.

His dedication to Montefiore spanned both his thought leadership and philanthropy. Mr. Aboodi was a generous supporter of Montefiore and Einstein’s cardiothoracic surgery and cancer programs.

He is survived by his children, Henry and Monica, David and Meredith, and Abigail and Steven; his longtime partner, Judy Lewis; and his grandchildren, Gabrielle, Michelle, Jacob, Lauren, Rachel, Avery, Nicole, Talia, Aaron, Eric, and Phoebe.

Einstein Trustee Jay Goldberg

Jay Neil Goldberg, longtime Einstein Board of Trustees member and steadfast supporter of the College of Medicine and the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, died June 17, 2021, at age 80 in New York City.

Mr. Goldberg was a member of the legal, compliance, finance, and investment committees of the Board of Trustees, serving for more than 20 years. He was also a member of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center Research Advisory Board and former chairman of the Einstein Men’s Division, which honored him with the Albert Einstein Humanitarian Award. 

Mr. Goldberg was a pioneer in the field of computer data processing, building and selling three companies in the field before becoming co-founder of Hudson Ventures, LP, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage technology.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Cirillo-Goldberg; daughters Susanne Currivan, Melissa Haddad, Laura Ortiz (Angel), and Julie Goldberg Mangini (Justin); six grandchildren; and sister Karen Ostroff.


Robin Briehl, M.D., age 92, professor emeritus of physiology & biophysics at Einstein who focused on sickle-cell research, Dec. 31, 2020, Waccabuc, New York.

Arpan De, Ph.D., age 34, a recent postdoctoral fellow in medicine and in molecular pharmacology at Einstein, June 7, 2021, India.

Joel. S. Feiner, M.D. ’64, age 82, former professor of psychiatry and director of social and community psychiatry at Einstein and director of psychiatry residency training at Montefiore; later a professor of psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Sept. 8, 2020, Ashland, Oregon.

Robert Finberg, M.D. ’74, age 71, professor of medicine and chair emeritus of the department of medicine at UMass Medical School, an infectious-disease expert, and a COVID-19 vaccine researcher who was the 2018 recipient of the Dominick P. Purpura Distinguished Alumnus Award, Aug. 30, 2021, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Christine Lawrence, M.D., age 90, distinguished university professor of medicine emerita at Einstein and a hematologist at Jacobi Medical Center, July 31, 2021, New York City.

Philip Lief, M.D., age 81, retired professor of medicine at Einstein, former program director in internal medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, and retired vice chair of medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, Aug. 23, 2021, White Plains, New York.

Irving Listowsky, Ph.D., age 85, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Einstein and member of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and of the Marion Bessin Liver Research Center from its 1974 inception, April 28, 2021, Flushing, New York.

Stephen W. Mackey, M.D. ’87, age 60, July 23, 2021, infectious- disease specialist who also taught science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Pulaski Technical College, and Baptist Health College, July 23, 2021, Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Jack Peisach, Ph.D., age 88, professor emeritus of biophysics and physiology at Einstein, a pioneer in the field of electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, and internationally renowned for research on metals in biochemistry, March 4, 2021, New York City.

Murray Wittmer, M.D., Ph.D., age 93, professor emeritus of pathology at Einstein, renowned in the field of parasitology, March 18, 2021, Larchmont, New York.

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