NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

In Memoriam: Arnold Eskin

Arnold Eskin, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, passed away on December 22, 2019, in Houston. He was 79. During his time at UH, he served as director of the Institute for Molecular Biology, as chair of biochemistry, chair of biology, and as the first chair of the combined Department of Biology and Biochemistry.

He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1961, where he received a degree in physics. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Ph.D. in zoology in 1969. He completed postdoctoral studies at California Institute of Technology and Reed College.

Arnold began his long career teaching and continuing to do research at Rice University, then Stanford University, and finally at UH. Arnold was the author or co-author of more than 150 publications, abstracts, and presentations.

His research focused on understanding how memories are formed. He examined how the properties of a neuron change in a coordinated fashion to store a memory.

While at UH, he received numerous awards including the Esther Farfel Award, which is the University’s highest faculty award. He also received the UH Research Excellence Award and the NIH MERIT Award. He was the only UH faculty member to receive both the Farfel Award and a John and Rebecca Moores Professorship in the same year.

Arnold was an accomplished researcher yet had the unique gift to show compassion and connect to those around him. He was an individual who challenged people to expand their minds and look beyond the obvious. He was witty and could fill a room with laughter. His students were a part of his life on and off campus, and his hospitality was immense.

A funeral was held Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, at Emanu El Memorial Park. The family requested memorial donations be directed to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Department of Biology & Biochemistry will hold a memorial service at a later date.

Arnold is survived by his wife Marta Eskin; his sister, Nora Matos; his children, Aric Eskin, Alison Plapp and her husband Michael Plapp, and Aleah Eskin; stepsons, Christopher Jordan and his wife Callie and Michael Jordan and his wife Brianne; his grandchildren, Kevin Plapp, Michelle Plapp and her wife Heather; his step grandchildren, Easton, Leighton, and Cole and his nephew David Matos.