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In memoriam—Stephen Hugh Koslow, Ph.D

Stephen H. Koslow, ACNP Fellow Emeritus and member since 1977, unexpectedly lost his life on April 23, 2021. He had a most illustrious career and leaves an unusually large number of close colleagues and friends with whom he maintained close connections. Steve or “Koz” as he was known to many of us received his undergraduate education at Columbia University (BS) and his Ph.D in Pharmacology from the University of Chicago. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, he joined the intramural research program in the Laboratory of Preclinical Pharmacology and subsequently became the chief of the Unit of Neurobiological Applications of Mass Spectrometry in that group. This program based at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital was a hotbed of neuroscience and biological psychiatry research. It was there that Steve began his work as the principal investigator of the Clinical Research Branch Collaborative Program on the Psychobiology of Depression, a 6 center study, a 10-year program. During this time he transitioned to the extramural NIMH, first as the Chief of the Biological Research Section in the Clinical Research Branch and subsequently as the Founding Branch Chief of the Neuroscience Research Branch. He kept rising in the extramural NIMH program to hold positions as Deputy Director of the Division of Basic Brain and Behavioral Research to Director of the Division of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience to finally serving as the Founding Director of the Office of Neuroinformatics. All together he served the NIMH from 1970 to 2004. After leaving NIMH he was affiliated with the Allen Institute for Brain Research, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Brain Research Corporation, based in Australia. In recent years, he served as a consultant to several academic departments, mentoring junior faculty in grantsmanship and scientific writing. This included a stint working with one of us (CBN) at the University of Miami. Steve had a very, very sharp mind and held himself and all around him to the highest scientific standards. He had little patience for sloppy work or sloppy thinking. He published peer-reviewed publications in the very best journals in our field including Science, Molecular Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology, Human Brain Mapping, and Archives of General Psychiatry (now JAMA Psychiatry) the American Journal of Psychiatry. What was most impressive about Steve as a scientist was his thirst for new knowledge and new technologies that could be applied to clinical medicine.

Steve had the biggest heart. Behind a thin veneer of a dry sense of humor and occasional sarcasm, he was the MOST loyal of friends, through good times and bad. He loved traveling and was, of course, a mainstay at the many ACNP meetings at the Caribe Hilton. That was the first place one of us (CBN) went fishing with Steve and he was one of the few of us who actually caught a tarpon. That was the beginning of a fly fishing buddy relationship that he had with a large group of friends that lasted for over a decade and took us to Alaska many times as well as Montana, Colorado and other western states. Oh, how he loved to travel to all parts of the world, find the best restaurants and relish in the company of his family and friends. During these times together, he was constantly telling us how proud he was of his children and grandchildren. In recent years he was diagnosed with lung cancer and remarkably went from widely disseminated disease to having a miraculous response, ending up being completely disease-free after response to a modern biologic therapy-only to fall victim to an infection in the hospital after sustaining a hip fracture. He will be sorely missed.

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Correspondence to Charles B. Nemeroff.

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Nemeroff, C.B., Frazer, A. In memoriam—Stephen Hugh Koslow, Ph.D. Neuropsychopharmacol. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-01049-8

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