March 25, 1911-October 3, 1979
BY MARJORIE B.LEES AND ALFRED POPE
JORDI FOLCH-PI1WAS A colorful and truly unique personality whose sharp intellect, insight, and willingness to express his opinions were widely appreciated. He was a Catalan physician-scientist and a leader in the emerging field of neurochemistry. Folch made major scientific contributions to the areas of lipid chemistry and structural biochemistry and was widely considered to have inherited the mantle of Johannes Thudichum, the nineteenth-century founder of the field of structural neurochemistry.
Folch’s studies at the Rockefeller Institute Hospital Laboratories in New York showed that a brain lipid fraction called cephalin by Thudichum was actually a mixture of several components, which he identified as phosphatidyl ethanolamine, phosphatidyl serine, and inositol-containing lipids. At 33 years of age Folch was called to the McLean Hospital, a psychiatric affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital, as director of the new Biological Research Laboratory with the stated mission to characterize the structural components of the nervous system in health and disease. He successfully developed a broad-based, internationally recognized program, which he continued to lead until his retirement in 1977. Folch’s initial scientific priority was the quan-