October 25, 1921–October 28, 1997
BY RUTH LEVY GUYER
MARIAN ELLIOTT KOSHLAND WAS AN eminent immunologist. She was spirited, practical, insightful, and inventive, and she had tremendous integrity, energy, and smarts. She was also a caring and generous person. I was fortunate to be one of her graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1970s.
Marian had become a professor in the bacteriology and immunology department at Berkeley shortly before I joined her group. Her laboratory was in the old Life Sciences Building near the (in)famous eucalyptus grove, a campus landmark redolent of medicinal oils and site of commonplace conversations, licit and illicit trysts, and spurned lovers’ fist fights.
Marian’s laboratory was large and classic: Rows of tall, stately black benches spanned much of the width of the room, and at the back near the windows that looked out onto the building’s courtyard was a hulking rectangular conference table. That table was where we—the four graduate students, the postdoc from Lausanne, the two technicians, and Marian—gathered every day at lunchtime to eat and to talk about J chain—the joining protein of immunoglobulin molecules that Marian & Co. had recently identified and were characterizing—the structural peculiarities of secretory antibodies