Boyle family endows chair to honor Gert's scientist sister

OHSU Extra, Summer 2010

Hildegard Lamfrom, Ph.D.Columbia Sportswear Company’s Boyle family gives $2.5 million to create an endowed chair in cancer research honoring renowned biologist Hildegard Lamfrom, Ph.D.


The Boyle family understands the role of science in advancing human health. For Gert Boyle, chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear, that realization came early in life, as she watched her older sister blossom into a talented scientist during a time when women were discouraged from such pursuits. For Tim Boyle, Columbia’s president and CEO, it came growing up with an aunt who was on a first-name basis with some of the luminaries in his science textbooks. That sister and aunt was Hildegard Lamfrom, Ph.D.

During an exceptional career spanning four decades, Dr. Lamfrom crossed paths with nearly a dozen Nobel laureates, including the team that cracked the DNA code, during an exciting time in molecular biology. She worked at Cambridge with Sydney Brenner and Francis Crick; she worked at Cal Tech under Linus Pauling. She introduced physicist Richard Feynman to the genetics of the pea. She broke new ground of her own in the field of protein synthesis. Dr. Lamfrom was also a passionate mentor, encouraging many renowned scientists – including Brian Druker, M.D., now director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and Vollum Institute scientist Gail Mandel, Ph.D. – to reach new heights.

Both are now members of the National Academy of Sciences. Thanks to a $2.5 million gift from Gert Boyle and Tim and Mary Boyle, OHSU has established the Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science in association with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The endowed support of this chair will enable OHSU to attract a top-caliber researcher to help advance important cancer research. That researcher, and those he or she influences, will uphold Dr. Lamfrom’s legacy of devotion to science and passion for mentoring.

“Hildegard would have wanted to be remembered as providing fanatically dedicated support to basic science, focused on the most significant health issues in the world.”

– Tim Boyle on behalf of his family