NEI Mourns Jin H. Kinoshita

News Brief

Jin H. Kinoshita, Ph.D., renowned vision researcher and former scientific director at the National Eye Institute (NEI), died on August 20 in San Jose, California, after a long illness. He was 89.

As NEI scientific director, Dr. Kinoshita exerted a profound influence on the course of ophthalmic biochemistry and was a pioneer in the biochemical study of cataract. Born in San Francisco, Dr. Kinoshita graduated from Bard College of Columbia University in 1944 and received his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Harvard University in 1952. He then joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he held a succession of positions, becoming professor of biochemical ophthalmology in 1970.

In 1971, Dr. Kinoshita was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Vision Research in the newly formed NEI where he directed the basic-research programs. In 1981, he was made scientific director and was responsible for the scientific management of all basic and clinical research conducted by NEI on the National Institutes of Health campus. Dr. Kinoshita stepped down as NEI scientific director in 1989.

Well known as a professor, researcher, administrator, and advisor, Dr. Kinoshita exemplified a consistent dedication to promoting eye research of the highest quality. He established the first formal agreement between American and Japanese investigators in the area of vision research. This collaboration had a major impact on a large segment of the generation that now guides Japan’s substantial program in vision research.

Former NEI director Dr. Carl Kupfer often stated that, “one of Dr. Kinoshita’s greatest and most enduring contributions to the NEI was his discerning selection of bright, young, enthusiastic scientists to whom he astutely gave the freedom and resources that permitted them to realize their full potential. At the same time, he made himself available on a day-to-day basis for guidance and advice when needed.”

During his distinguished career Dr. Kinoshita received numerous honors including the Emperor’s Award (Japan), the Friedenwald Award, the Proctor Medal, the Alcon Research Institute Award, and the Distinguished Service Award of the then Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services). He also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Oakland University for his outstanding research accomplishments, winning the University national recognition as a center for visual study.