by Elio Schaechter and Stanley Maloy
Abe Eisenstark is an old friend of both of us. Elio was a graduate student in the Midwest when he first met him. Abe was then a young faculty member at nearby university and was an inspiring mentor to whom Elio gravitated straightaway. The story is a bit different for Stanley, who says: “It is funny but I can't even remember when I first met Abe ... it just seems like we have always known each other.“
Some seven decades later no less, Abe is still at it, helping younger people inside and outside the lab. He is turning 95 this year and is continuing to go to the lab every day where he carries out inspired and challenging research. He is now working on how Salmonella strains may have a role to play in cancer therapy. Here is a recent paper by Abe on this topic. These bacteria home in on mouse cancers and colonize them, leading to death of the tumor. Obviously, this is not a simple matter, partly because mutants that may be pathogenic to the host may arise. But if someone is equipped to study such questions, it is distinctly Abe. We wouldn't bet against him coming up with a useful modality to treat cancer.
For those in the know, Abe and Salmonella are two closely tied biological entities. He has worked on this organisms most of his life, dealing with basic and applied question of its genetics, with a special yen for the effects of radiation. More recently, he has been studying Salmonella evolution by examining old archived culture collections of both bacterial strains and their phages.
Given his longevity, you could readily assume that Abe has taken to scientific work with singular passion. You would be right. Few people in our acquaintance have displayed greater love for science. So, we salute you, Abe, and wish you copious and exciting results for years to come.