Joseph L. “José” Rabinowitz, professor emeritus of biochemistry in the School of Dental Medicine, passed away May 28, 2009, at age 85.
Born in the Ukraine, but raised in Mexico, Dr. Rabinowitz received his master’s degree in 1948 and then his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1950, both from Penn. His bachelor’s degree was from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1943, now the University of the Sciences.
Dr. Rabinowitz was appointed to the faculty in 1958. He was promoted to professor in 1970 and became emeritus in 1992. He had also been chief of radioisotope research at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Dr. Rabinowitz was known for his research in lipid and steroid biochemistry, and for his paper on the discovery of HMG-CoA, a key intermediate in the synthesis of cholesterol. The research led to the development of important cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins. He was also recognized for his expertise on the chemical synthesis of radiolabeled compounds, which led to the text, Principles of Radioisotope Methodology, which he co-authored with Dr. Grafton Chase.
Dr. Rabinowitz was the recipient of many industry awards and held memberships in many honorary, professional and scientific societies. In 2004, he endowed the Joseph and Josephine Rabinowitz Award for Excellence in Research to promote independent research by the junior faculty.
Dr. Rabinowitz is survived by his wife, Josephine; daughters, Malva and Lois; son, Marty; a brother; and five grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Dr. Joseph L. Rabinowitz Fund for Cancer Research, 132 Burtis Lane, Syosset, NY 11791.