Death in the family: Paul P. Weinstein

Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff


Paul P. Weinstein, professor emeritus of biological sciences and a leading authority on parasitology, vector biology and public health, died January 5 at the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend. He was 88.

Weinstein began his distinguished career close to his Brooklyn, New York, home, earning his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1941 before entering the U.S. Public Health Service as a junior parasitologist. His early work in government service in Florida and Puerto Rico culminated in 1946 when, as a captain stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, he played a significant role in the establishment of the Communicable Disease Center, which eventually became the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Weinstein earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in 1949 and furthered his research career during the following two decades primarily, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. His work in public health expanded to the international level, serving his profession and the sick and suffering in places as far-flung as Japan, Nigeria and Panama.

He retired from NIH in 1968 as director and chief of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and the Laboratory of Tropical Diseases. The following year Weinstein joined the biological sciences faculty at Notre Dame as a professor and department chair, and he oversaw the department’s move into the Galvin Life Sciences Center in 1972. Over the next 21 years, Weinstein pursued research to understand and combat parasites responsible for problems such as blindness and elephantiasis and vector-borne diseases like malaria, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide each year. He also carved out a reputation as an exceptional and beloved teacher, earning the Alumni Association’s Faculty Award in 1987 and the Shilts/Leonard award for teaching in the sciences in 1988.

Weinstein published more than 90 scientific papers during his career, which continued past his retirement from teaching in 1990.

In 1954, Weinstein married Rachel Hazan of New York City. The couple raised two children, Amy and Michael, and continued, in their daughter’s words, “a love affair that lasted over half a century.”