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Howard A. Schneiderman; Pioneer in Biotechnology

From Staff and Wire Reports

Howard Allen Schneiderman, who led Monsanto Co., UC Irvine and St. Louis’ Washington University in the development of biotechnology and genetic engineering, has died. He was 63.

Schneiderman died Wednesday at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis after suffering from leukemia.

He was chief chemist and senior vice president of research and development at Monsanto. He had been dean of the School of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine before going on leave to join Monsanto and Washington University of St. Louis in 1979.

In 1989, he was awarded the UCI Medal, highest honor of the Irvine campus, for significant contributions to the university’s development. In nine years at Irvine, Schneiderman was credited with increasing the university’s research funding, recruiting top professors and guiding expansion of the university’s Developmental Biology Center.

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He also was named by former President Ronald Reagan to the National Science Board, the policy-making arm of the National Science Foundation.

“Dr. Schneiderman held central roles in both the arena of academic research and in the industrial sector,” said Frank Press, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “He knew that American industry needed to be competitive and the government policies necessary to achieve the goal. He was a major figure in American science.”

Schneiderman was teaching at UC Irvine when he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the highest accolade for U.S. scientists. Informed of the honor by then-Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. at a surprise champagne party, the low-key Schneiderman reacted:

“Oh, my goodness gracious Jones! I’m really proud of this.”

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He was elected to the academy for his studies and research in the fields of insect physiology, endocrinology and development.

At that time, Schneiderman told his academic colleagues that his years at Irvine had been “the most productive years of my life.”

Schneiderman joined Monsanto under a $62-milllion joint research partnership between the company and Washington University--which has led to more than 40 patents.

Under his leadership, Monsanto built its Life Sciences Research Center for Biotechnology Research in Chesterfield and moved into the technology of mixing genes from different species to develop new crops, veterinary drugs and other products.

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Richard J. Mahoney, chairman and chief executive officer at Monsanto, said: “Howard, more than anyone, helped set a direction for the company in the biological sciences, which is serving us extremely well. We are fortunate that the course he helped set will continue to guide Monsanto well into the 21st Century. We will miss him deeply.”

Schneiderman was the author of more than 200 published papers on scientific subjects, including developmental biology and genetics, insect biochemistry and plant growth, and was an adjunct professor at Washington University.

Schneiderman was born in New York. He got his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and both his master’s degree in zoology and doctoral degree in physiology from Harvard University.

Survivors include his wife, Audrey; a son, John, of Irvine and a daughter, Anne, of Ithaca, N.Y.

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