Dr. Benjamin Wolf, retired professor emeritus of microbiology, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, passed away at the beginning of April 2013, at his Honolulu, Hawaii, residence.
Dr. Wolf obtained a BS from Wayne University in 1949, earned his master's degree in bacteriology from the University of Michigan in 1952 and his PhD in microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. From 1959 until 1962, Dr. Wolf was a Pennsylvania Plan Scholar and an instructor on the faculty in the School of Veterinary Medicine. He became an assistant professor in 1962, associate professor in 1968 and professor of microbiology in 1973.
From 1962 until 1972, he was the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. He was involved with the Graduate Groups in Immunology, Parasitology, and Microbiology and taught on core and elective courses on immunology to veterinary students.
His graduate students praised his creative mind and unassuming, innovative and hands-on pursuit of scientific endeavors and unselfish encouragement as he groomed them to become scientists on their own. "Anyone who observed how much Ben enjoyed his work would feel inspired to pursue a career in science. It was clear that he relished his interactions with students at all levels and was a source of encouragement," said former student Richard Bankert. Dr. Wolf moved to New Bolton Center as a professor emeritus in 1994 but curtailed his science activities to devote more time to his family.
Dr. Wolf was one of the few immunologists on the veterinary faculty and his presence nucleated what continues to be an active research group within the school. He was regarded as an incredibly enthusiastic scientist and it was obvious that he loved what he was doing. His own research centered initially on the isolation and characterization of soluble antigens of Brucella abortus but he developed an interest in the events that controlled antibody responses to pathogens and in autoimmunity. Consequently, in 1970 he spent nine months at Cambridge University, working on the expression of immunoglobulin allelic markers on the surface of lymphocytes, and in 1980, Dr. Wolf was awarded a Fogarty International Fellowship and spent six months at the University of Birmingham (England) where he continued his immunological studies.
"Ben is remembered as a reasonable, close friend and colleague able to offer advice and pertinent information on a wide variety of topics. He enjoyed his adventures in experimental immunology and pursued his immunologic research with fervor and tenacity. He shall be missed as an encouraging mentor, an interested teacher and dedicated scientist. The School has lost a good friend and supporter," said Chuck Benson and Leonard Bello, retired Penn professors.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah; and two sons, Michael and Howard.