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NIH Record


NICHD's Nat Tolson Mourned

Nathaniel W. Tolson, Sr., died at age 58 on Mar. 17 after a lingering illness.

Born on May 3, 1942, in College Park, Md., he gained his B.Sc. degree from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 1966. He came to the National Institutes of Health in 1974 in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, NICHD, under the direction of Dr. Gordon Guroff. In 1984, he transferred to the Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Immunity, NICHD, until his retirement in 2000.

Tolson became expert in devising and modifying in-vitro assays for pertussis toxin, purification of the surface polysaccharides of several pathogenic bacteria, and extraction and isolation of homo-genous proteins of which the latter two were used for vaccines. During his career at NIH, Tolson coauthored 10 scientific publications. In addition to these valuable skills, he "ran" the laboratory by his mastery of the civil service at NIH, said Dr. John Robbins, chief of the lab where Tolson worked. "He was a friend and a colleague to all who worked with him."

Tolson is survived by his wife Sylvia, his children Nathaniel, Jr. and Pamela, his stepdaughters Nedra and Brenda Stewart, his sisters Geraldine Jackson and Dorothy Holeman, his brother Ike, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His colleagues at NIH miss Tolson very much, Robbins said.

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