Washington Update

FASEB Mourns Passing of Former President William R. Brinkley, PhD

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Thursday, December 3, 2020

FASEB is deeply saddened by the loss of former President William R. Brinkley, PhD, who died on November 10, 2020. Dr. Brinkley served as FASEB President from 1998 to 1999 and was honored in a dedicated FASEB meeting titled the “Brinkley-Fest of Mitosis” in 2007. Prior to becoming President, Brinkley represented the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) on the FASEB Board of Directors.

Among Brinkley’s many contributions to FASEB, in June 1999 he brought a delegation of distinguished scientists to Capitol Hill to meet with then House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriation Subcommittee Chair John Porter (R-IL) to advocate for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Brinkley told the Speaker that funding increases were critical to recruit bright young American students to careers in research, warning that failure to continue raising the NIH budget could actively discourage those same students from becoming the future generation of American scientists. At the time of the 1999 meeting, Congress was just beginning a five-year campaign to double funding for NIH.

Dr. Brinkley completed his scientific career as Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and was recognized particularly for contributing to discovery of the attachment of chromosomes to the mitotic spindle apparatus. He was active in the ASCB leadership, serving as President from 1979 to 1980. Brinkley was a member of the Institute of Medicine, was Editor-in-Chief of Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton, and chaired the NIH Biomedical Sciences Study Section. He also served on the Board of Directors of Research!America and the Genetics Policy Institute.

FASEB extends its deepest condolences to the Brinkley family and remains forever grateful for his service to the Federation and the scientific community.