Dr. Leopold G. Koss


ASC Remembers Dr. Leopold G. Koss

Dr. Leopold G. Koss

Leopold G. Koss, M.D.
Founding Contributor,
October 2, 1920 – September 11, 2012

On September 11, 2012, the cytology community lost Dr. Leopold G. Koss. Dr. Koss was one of the “Founding Fathers” of cytology and was a tremendous force in the ASC.  He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. 

Leopold G. Koss, MD, was a native of Poland where he received his primary education. His medical education was repeatedly disrupted by events prior to and during World War II. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Bern, Switzerland in 1946. His adventures during the war years were many but cannot be summarized within this space. His parents and only sister perished during the Holocaust.

Dr. Koss’ interest in microscopy and pathology stems from his involvement in experimental embryology during student days in Bern. He arrived in the United States in 1947. He trained in pathology at the Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn under the great renal pathologist and Chairman of the Department of Pathology, Dr. Jean Oliver, who encouraged him to pursue an academic career. In 1952, he joined the staff of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City where, except for military service in Korea, he remained until the end of 1970. He had fond memories of his association with the legendary pathologist, Dr. Fred W. Stewart, and many other distinguished colleagues at that institution. In 1973, he became the Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he remained active until his death as Professor and Chairman Emeritus.

Dr. Koss has been honored repeatedly by his peers. He received, among others, the Papanicolaou, Goldblatt and Masubuchi Awards, the Sloan Award in Cancer Research and the Gold-headed Cane Award from the American Society of Investigative Pathology. He was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK), a member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), and a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Sciences. He was honored as “Distinguished Pathologist” by the U.S.-Canadian Academy of Pathology and the Association of Pathology Chairmen. He was one of the original members of the ASC and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASC in 2002.

— please share your memories of Dr. Koss.

Gifts in memoriam will support the ASC Koss Legacy Lectureship and to honor Dr. Koss's extraordinary contributions to our field. If you would like more information on the Leopold Koss Lectureship Fund, please visit here.