Professor Emeritus Andrew Szent-Györgyi

Feb. 13, 2015

Dear Colleagues, 

I write to share the sad news of the death of Andrew Szent-Györgyi, Professor Emeritus of Biology, at the age of 90.

Andrew Szent-Györgyi was already a highly accomplished scientist when he joined the Brandeis faculty in 1966 as a tenured professor.  After earning a medical degree from the University of Budapest, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1948 with his wife and collaborator, Eva Szentkiralyi. Joining his cousin, Albert Szent-Györgyi, at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Andrew became a member of the Institute for Muscle Research. In 1962, he moved to Dartmouth Medical School, and four years later came to Brandeis, spending three decades on our faculty, until his retirement in 1997. He also retained his connection with the Marine Biological Laboratory, serving as a faculty member and director of the MBL Physiology Course, and in later years as a guest lecturer. He eventually retired to Woods Hole in 2007. 

As a research scientist, Andrew worked to understand the structure, function, and regulation of myosin motors, which play a crucial role in muscle contraction. His work yielded over 150 research publications and earned him much recognition, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and honorary membership in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He also provided valuable leadership, serving as president of both the Society of General Physiologists and the Biophysical Society. At Brandeis, he chaired the Biology Department and also paved the way for the establishment of our Neuroscience Program, teaching our first neuroscience course and crafting a proposal for the development of neuroscience at Brandeis.

Andrew is remembered as a fine colleague and exemplary scientist, who never lost his passion for hands-on research. He brought a similar passion to the outdoors, as a skier and hiker and an avid tennis player. He was also a valued teacher and mentor to succeeding generations of scientists, at Woods Hole and at Brandeis. His legacy is regularly commemorated through the Andrew Szent-Györgyi Endowed Lecture in Physiology at the Marine Biological Laboratory. 

Andrew's first wife and frequent collaborator, Eva, died in 1988. He is survived by his second wife, Ursula Rowan, and by his children and grandchildren, as well as three stepsons. A memorial service will be held at the Marine Biological Laboratory on Sunday, July 26 in the Meigs Room of the MBL Swope Center.

I know that you join with me in sending our deep sympathies to Andrew's family.


Lisa Lynch


Lisa M. Lynch, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and

Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy
Brandeis University

assistant: Kristen Stevens,
phone: 781-736-2101