Dr. Leon P. Weiss, professor emeritus of cell biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, passed away October 16, 2012, at age 87.
Born in Brooklyn, Dr. Weiss earned his BS from the College of the City of New York in 1944 and his MD from Long Island College of Medicine in 1948.
After serving in the Army Medical Corps, Dr. Weiss taught on the faculties of Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities.
Dr. Weiss was appointed to the Penn faculty in 1975 as a professor of cell biology in the department of animal biology. He chaired the department from 1976-1995. He also held a secondary appointment in what is now called the Perelman School of Medicine. In 1982, his chair appointment was endowed and he became the first Grace Lansing Lambert Professor of Cell Biology (Almanac January 17, 1984). That same year, he was awarded the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. His home department changed to the department of clinical studies/New Bolton Center in 1999. He became emeritus in 2009.
Dr. Weiss' major work was experimental electron microscopic/histochemical study of the immunologic/hematopoietic systems, notably spleen, bone marrow and thymus. He also conducted research on malaria, work he continued after retiring from Penn.
Dr. Weiss helped design the medical school curriculum at his alma mater, now the City College of New York, and helped found two programs at Penn - the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society and the Center for Aquatic Animal Medicine and Pathology.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Weiss was a medical consultant and served on many committees of medical organizations. He held memberships in numerous professional and scientific societies including the American Association of Anatomists, the American Society of Zoology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also was a long-standing member of the Corporation of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Massachusetts.
He held several editorial positions, including serving as editor, in the 1980s, of a leading textbook, Histology, and illustrated many of his own pen-and-ink drawings of cells and tissue structure as seen through an electron microscope.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 24, 2 p.m., at 370 Aubrey Rd., in Wynnewood, PA. Another memorial will be held in the summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.
Dr. Weiss is survived by his wife, Ellen; children, Marisa, C'79, M'84, Philip,
Stephen, Alice, C'81, V'84, Nathaniel, EAS'89 and Eve; and 12 grandchildren,
Adam, Aaron, C'09, Elias, Daniel, Ethan, Henry, Isabel, C'13, Madeleine, Sara,
Ella, Owen and Livia.