July 20, 1916–September 6, 1998
BY NORMAN K. WESSELLS
DISCS OF TRANSPARENT, exquisitely thin filters, branching embryonic salivary glands and kidneys, collagen fibers and extracellular glue—the artifacts of Clifford Grobstein's science. New science buildings for research and teaching, new ways to organize biological knowledge for teaching, reorganization of biological and medical institutions, and the recruitment of the first faculty to a new medical school—products of Clifford Grobstein as an academic leader and administrator. Development of public policy on assisted human reproduction, on recombinant DNA usage, and on other controversial topics where science and society meet—contributions of Clifford Grobstein as biomedical ethicist.
These diverse landmarks trace the career of Clifford Grobstein, regarded by many as the preeminent bridge between classical embryology and late twentieth-century developmental biology. Grobstein as scientist made the key discoveries that implicated extracellular materials as essential elements during embryonic induction processes. He made the startling observation that different developing cell populations from embryos could interact across membranous filters that prevented direct cell-to-cell contact. And, he defined the specificity rules for inductive interactions: which