Eugene P. Goldberg, Genzyme Professor and Director of the Biomaterials Center in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering passed away on Friday, February 15, 2019 at his home in Tavares, Florida.
Prior to joining the University of Florida, Dr. Goldberg studied Chemistry at the University of Miami, receiving a BS degree in 1950. He received his MS in Organic Chemistry at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1951 and his Ph.D. at Brown University in 1953. He was hired as a research chemist at General Electric Chemical Division in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he discovered and, as co-inventor, developed a new class of high impact, thermally stable aromatic polycarbonates, namely Lexan.
While at GE, Dr. Goldberg worked on new organic dielectric and insulating materials resulting in the first plasma polymerization dielectric membranes for microelectronics. After leaving GE, he worked at the Borg-Warner Research Center in Des Plaines, Illinois. While there he developed the elastomer block copolymer commercialized by Shell as Kraton-G, in addition to novel air purification and the first hyperbaric oxygenation systems – later commercialized by the York Division. In 1966, he was hired by Xerox Research as the Director for the Chemistry Research Laboratory where he pushed the boundaries of electro-chemistry, biochemistry, and the biomedical sciences.
In 1975, Dr. Goldberg left Xerox to become a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Adjunct Professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Chemistry. He later gained additional faculty appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 1985, and Biomedical Engineering 2001.
Over the course of his career he has been granted more than 50 U.S. patents and numerous foreign patents in the fields of organic and polymer chemistry, imaging technology, and biomedical polymers and devices. He graduated 29 Ph.D. and 24 MS students, and was a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (FAIMBE) and Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE). In 1987, Dr. Goldberg was awarded Florida Scientist of The Year and in 1995 the Brown University Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Society for Biomaterials granted Dr. Goldberg the Clemson Award for Applied Research in 1998 for polymer technologies for improved healthcare including tissue-protective devices and ophthalmic, mammary, and cardiovascular implants. This award is given once a year to an honoree who has demonstrated significant utilization or application of basic knowledge such as the development of a device or material which achieved widespread use or adoption.
Dr. Michele Manuel, the Department Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department said, “Through his innovative and industrially-relevant career, he was a leader in translational research who created a lasting impact on the discipline, and even more so with the students who he mentored and developed. He played a pivotal role in the development of a strong, robust biomaterials program, pioneering the study of polymeric materials within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He will be tremendously missed.”
The UF Department of Materials Science and Engineering plans to honor Dr. Goldberg in several ways, and there has also been an outpouring of support from former students, friends, and colleagues with regards to honoring his memory. An endowment has been created to mark the indelible legacy he left at the University of Florida and within the department, itself. We are also collecting stories from students, co-workers, and friends about their fondest memories of Dr. Goldberg, which we plan to share with his family. Inquiries into these efforts can be made by contacting Sterling Garcia, the Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 294-7953.
A memorial service and reception celebrating Gene’s life is planned for Sunday, May 26th at 2pm in Mount Dora, FL at Allen J. Harden Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Eugene P. Goldberg Lectureship Fund in order to endow a lecture series in his memory.