The Joshua Lederberg Page

Lederberg was founder and chairman of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University from 1959 to 1978, and President of The Rockefeller University from 1978 to 1990. In addition, from 1958 to 1977 he was also a member of National Academy of Sciences and NASA committees on space biology which investigated the possibility of life on other planets. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Natural Resources Defense Council from its founding in 1971 until 1984. He was a member of President Kennedy's Panel on Mental Retardation from 1961-62, and Chairman of the President's Cancer Panel under Jimmy Carter, 1979-81. From 1979 to the present, Lederberg has been a Trustee of the Sackler Medical School at Tel-Aviv University, and, since 1990, has been a Beverly Sackler Foundation Scholar at Rockefeller University. In 1994, he headed the Defense Department Task Force on Persian Gulf War Health Effects, "which concludes that there is insufficient epidemiological evidence for a coherent Gulf War Syndrome."

Lederberg bio, 2005 / National Library of Medicine

Lederberg made the opening statements and the summation at the session on "Smoking and Disease," at the Institute of Medicine Annual Meeting, "The Health Sciences and the Burden of Illness, Oct. 27-28, 1976. David A. Hamburg made the closing remarks.

IOM, 1976 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)


Lederberg was on the Board of Scientific Advisors of Cetus in 1978. Cetus was angling for Philip Morris investment money because they didn't want to be controlled by Standard Oil of Indiana.

Cetus Letter to the Shareholders, Sep. 22, 1978 / UCSF (pdf, 8 pp)
PM, Sep. 20, 1978 / UCSF (pdf, 4 pp)

The Rockefeller University

Lederberg became president of The Rockefeller University in July 1978. His redacted bio says that he is on the board of trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and "played an active role in the Mariner and Viking missions to Mars," "was a consultant to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the successful negotiation of the treaty on biological weapons disarmament;" is chairman of the board of Annual Reviews; and is a director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He was Rockefeller University's president until 1990. Psychological warfare researcher Robert K. Merton joined the adjunct faculty of Rockefeller University in 1979.

Lederberg bio, Rockefeller University, 1978 / UCSF (pdf, 4 pp)

Rodney W. Nichols, Executive Vice President of the Rockefeller University, thanks Ernst Pepples, Vice President and General Counsel of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., for his site visit to the hospital and to Norton Zinder's laboratory. (Zinder is a former student of Lederberg's.) "In any case, now that B&W is a major partner in our work--and _many thanks_ again for so quickly arranging the generous grant of $90,000--we look forward to frequent exchanges on many subjects of mutual interest." (March 6, 1980).

Nichols to Pepples, 1980 / UCSF (pdf, 2 pp)

Lederberg was a member of the "Planning Study for an Ongoing Study of Costs of Environment-Related Health Effects." Other members included Theodore Cooper, Philip J. Landrigan, Frederick Mosteller, and Arthur Upton. Lederberg was chairman of the Workshop on Risk Assessment, attended by Theodore Cooper, Paul Marks, and Arthur Upton; also by representatives from Squibb Corp., Mobil Oil Corp., and Pfizer Inc.

Costs of Environment-Related Health Effects, p. 209 / National Academy Press, 1981

"In April 1980, a group of scientists met with the American Health Foundation Staff and Dr. Vincent DeVita, the Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute, to define preventive oncology and how preventive oncology could best evolve with the National Cancer Program. An additional participant in the afternoon session of the conference was Dr. Joshua Lederberg, President of the Rockefeller University." Charles LeMaistre and Ernst L. Wynder were chairmen. Other participants included Lester Breslow, Arthur Upton, and John Weisburger. (Editorial: Preventive Oncology and the National Cancer Program. Prev Med 1980 Nov;9(6):823-825.)

Preventive Medicine, 1980 / UCSF (pdf, 3 pp)

"RJR sponsors research on cell structure," RJR World, Feb. 1981. Dr. Stanley Hoffman was one of several projects at The Rockefeller University funded by RJ Reynolds. "Other research includes clinical research conducted on diabetes and obesity, and basic biomedical research relating to leukemia, atherosclerosis and carcinogenesis... In addition to The Rockefeller University, RJR makes grants for biomedical research to Harvard University, University of California at San Diego, University of Colorado Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, Eleanor Roosevelt Institute of Cancer Research, University of Washington at Seattle Medical School, University of California at San Francisco, Medical College of Pennsylvania, New York University and Bowman Gray Medical School of Wake Forest University."

RJR World, 1981 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)

A letter from Ernst Pepples of B&W to Lederberg, Nov. 30, 1981: "At our last meeting you indicated some interest in the effect of depriving people of cigarette privileges when they are under stress. I am enclosing various materials that relate to your request. Doubtless, Dr. Gori has also sent you some of the same items but I am sending you everything I have on the subject in the interest of completeness."

Pepples to Lederberg, 1981 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)

E.A. Horrigan Jr. to H.C. Roemer, October 13, 1983: "I have discussed with Paul Sticht Joshua Lederberg's letter requesting renewal of our support. I recommend, and Paul concurs, that in accordance with our current practices we renew the grant for one year at the same rate as at present($550,000 per year) with intent to renew for up to two additional years," and he calls Rockefeller University "the flagship of our [RJ Reynolds] program of support for fundamental biomedical research."

Horrigan to Roemer, 1983 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)

Letter from Pepples to Lederberg, April 30, 1985: "Dear Josh: I am sending a set of articles to you relating to research on cancer causation, together with a bibiliographical list of those articles." He seems to think that Burch and Eysenck "provide an alternative perspective" to the 1982 Surgeon General Report.

Pepples to Lederberg, 1985 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)

"Review of the Medical Research Program of RJR Nabisco, Inc. (1985-1986): ...12. Dr. Joshua Lederberg (The Rockefeller University) The program initiated at Rockefeller University nearly ten years ago was one of the first in the biomedical research series and was designed to support three areas: 1) cooperation between those involved in research in molecular and cellular biology and those working in areas of clinical research; 2) improvement of research involving animal animal models; and 3) provide fellowships and associated support to graduate students and postdoctoral investigators... Funding from the RJR Nabisco, Inc. gift has been particularly valuable in supporting advanced clinical research in fields such as immunology, nutrition, pharmacology, endocrinology and genetics with emphasis on areas such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease as well as cancer and dermatitis." And nothing about the role of chronic infection.

Review of RJR Research Program, 1986 / UCSF (pdf, 13 pp)

F. Hudnall Christopher of RJ Reynolds to Lederberg, Jan. 23, 1989: "Dear Josh: We appreciate very much your meeting with us to discuss our new PREMIER cigarette. Your comments and insights were most helpful and our sincere thanks for your continued interest and support in our program. Attached is an article that was published in Germany by Die Neue Arztliche in mid-December that I thought would be of interest. As you probably know, this is a daily newspaper mainly for the medical community. As you will see, the BGA position is quite different than that of the AMA and other anti-smoking associations in the U.S."

Christopher to Lederberg, 1989 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)

RJ Reynolds, "Biomedical Research Contributions (MRC) 1976-89." Joshua Lederberg got $6,100,000 between 1980 and 1988. The question we all have, of course, is "Why the hell do the Rockefellers need more money?" In particular, why do they need OUR money?

RJR Biomedical Research Contributions, 1976-89 / UCSF (pdf, 15 pp)

Although they had retired from their official positions at Rockefeller University, Frederick Seitz and former NIH Director James A. Shannon evidently continued their relationship during the 1980s. They made site visits and discussed the prion work of Stanley Prusiner at UCSF, who got $3,747,500 during the same period.

Prions: The Conspiracy to Push Vegetarianism

FIBER - Regelson's extortion letters

Lederberg was on the Science Advisory Board of the Fund for Integrative Biomedical Research (FIBER). Its Board of Directors included Mrs. Albert D. Lasker; Mrs. Alan Cranston, the wife of the US Senator from California; Conway Collis, former Domestic Policy Advisor to Sen. Cranston and fundraiser for the US Senate Democratic Campaign Committee; John F. Sandner, Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Paul Leventhal, former press secretary to Sen. Jacob Javits; Mrs. Marjorie Benton, the wife of William Benton's son Charles; and Mrs. Lyn Revson, the third wife of cosmetics magnate Charles Revson; and a number of individuals who have been major donors to the Democratic Party in recent years.

FIBER's Scientific Director, William Regelson, Professor and Chairman of the Division of Medical Oncology at the Medical College of Virginia, had harangued William Kloepfer Jr. and Horace Kornegay of the Tobacco Institute since 1969, with demands that the tobacco industry shovel out more money for basic research to pay off their attackers. He seemed to be completely oblivious to the vast sums they shoveled out, and that their only effect was to incite smears about the tobacco industry supposedly 'corrupting science' from the anti-smoking vermin. Nor did he have any research to propose until FIBER was formed in 1979. In 1986, he mourned that "FIBER is dead. We ran out of money when Cranston decided to exercise his presidential aspirations." (Pages 139-164.)

FIBER letters, 1976 / UCSF (pdf, 513 pp)

Regelson was a sponsoring member of the Citizens' Committee for the Conquest of Cancer, co-founded by Mary Lasker's crony, Sidney Farber, and co-chaired by Emerson Foote of the American Cancer Society and Solomon Garb, who was a correspondent of Mary Lasker between 1969 and 1981. Other sponsoring members included William McC. Blair Jr., Mrs. William McC. Blair Jr., now vice president of the Lasker Foundation; Elmer H. Bobst; R. Lee Clark; Mrs. Alice Fordyce, Mary's sister; James W. Fordyce, Mary's nephew; Mary's old friend, Leonard Goldenson of ABC-TV; Mrs. Paul G. Hoffman, aka Anna Rosenberg; Robert W. Holley of the Salk Institute; Mathilde Krim; Hollywood producer Norman Lear; and Bernard J. Reis, Treasurer of the Lasker Foundation. Garb sent a bullying letter to Curtis H. Judge, President of Lorillard Inc., demanding that "the tobacco industry" lobby for "higher total appropriations to NCI" and that "the Tobacco Research Institute [sic] should allocate substantial sums to finding anticancer drugs in plants." (Garb to Judge, Sep. 20, 1978.)

Citizens' Committee for the Conquest of Cancer, 1978 / UCSF (pdf, 4 pp)

Save the Children

Lederberg was a director of Save the Children in 1989. Peter G. Bourne, former Special Assistant for Health Affairs to President Carter, was vice chairman, and Marjorie C. Benton was honorary chairman. Other directors included Mary E. King (Bourne's wife), Marian Javits (wife of the late Sen. Jacob Javits), Sharon Percy Rockefeller, Robert Rodale, and Jonas Salk. (Group Watch.)

Save the Children / Public Eye

Chemical Industry Institute of Technology

Lederberg was on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Chemical Industry Institute of Technology in 1985.

CIIT, 1985 / UCSF (pdf, 26 pp)

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Lederberg was co-chairman, with William T. Golden, of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, which began producing a series of reports in 1988. Member Norman R. Augustine, Chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta Corp., joined Lederberg on the board of directors of Procter & Gamble in 1989.

Procter & Gamble

Lederberg was a director of Procter & Gamble from 1984 until June 13, 1995. Ralph Snyderman, Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dean, School of Medicine at Duke University, and CEO of Duke University Health System, was elected to replace him. His fellow directors included David M. Abshire, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Norman R. Augustine (who has been a member of the Lasker Foundation's Funding First Leadership Team); John G. Smale, Chairman of the Board of General Motors Corp.; Jerry R. Junkins, Chairman, anti-smoker, President and CEO of Texas Instruments Inc.; Donald R. Beall, Chairman and CEO of Rockwell International Corp.; and future US Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who joined the board in 1993.

Procter & Gamble 1994 DEF 14A / Securities and Exchange Commission

New York Academy of Sciences

Lederberg was the board's nominee for president of the New York Academy of Sciences in March 1992. Charles A. Sanders was chairman of NYAS's board of governors, and Carnegie Corp. president David Hamburger was a board member. The incoming president of NYAS, Rodney W. Nichols, was Lederberg's executive vice president at The Rockefeller University from 1978 to 1990, as well as vice president for his predecessor, Frederick Seitz, from 1972 to 1978. (New CEO Envisions A Broader Role for New York Academy. By Barbara Spector. The Scientist 1992 March 16;6(6).)

New CEO, 1992 / The Scientist

Lederberg was Chairman of the Board of NYAS, circa 1996. D. Allan Bromley of the Washington Advisory Group, and former Rep. Bill Green were on the Board of Governors, and William T. Golden was an Honorary Life Governor.

NYAS, ca. 1996 / UCSF (pdf, 35 pp)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Lederberg was a member of NIAID Strategic Planning Task Force Panel on Infectious Diseases in 2000. Gail Cassell, Vice President of Infectious Diseases at Lilly Research Laboratories (and board member of Research!America); former Rep. Paul Rogers (and board chairman of Research!America); and former CTR Scientific Advisory Board member Peter M. Howley were also members. This group at least acknowledged that: "Infectious agents are major contributing or causative factors in the development of many chronic diseases. Mounting evidence indicates that they may be the underlying causes of cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism, and chronic lung diseases." They did not explore the issue of how the accepted statistical techniques of the public health crowd falsely blame lifestyle, smoking, etc., due to confounding by infection.

Panel on Emerging Infectious Diseases / NIAID
Executive Summary / NIAID

The Scientist

Lederberg was on the Editorial Advisory Board of Eugene Garfield's publication, The Scientist, in 1995, along with Robert K. Merton (who died in Feb. 2003), and an old associate from Cetus, Carl Djerassi. Lederberg continues on the board in 2003.

The Scientist, 1995 / UCSF (pdf, 1 p)
Editorial Advisory Board / The Scientist

Annual Reviews

Lederberg was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Annual Reviews in 1978, and is still on the board in 2003. Gardner Lindzey, the former Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, was on the board in 1999, along with Lederberg, Eugene Garfield and Daniel E. Koshland Jr., who are also still on the board in 2003.

J. Murray Luck "Reminiscences" / Annual Reviews (pdf, 272 pp)

Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Lederberg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Charles A. Sanders has been its Chairman of the Board since it was established in 1996. Other directors include Mrs. William McCormick Blair Jr. and former Rep. John Edward Porter (R-IL), who is also a director of Research!America.

Board of Directors / Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Friends of the National Library of Medicine

The Board of Directors of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine includes former Assistant Secretary for Health Edward N. Brandt Jr, former DHEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Lasker lobby insiders Lois and Michael DeBakey, Mary Lasker's nephew James Fordyce, the late Francis Humphrey Howard, Joshua Lederberg, Robert G. Petersdorf, former Surgeon General Julius Richmond, former Surgeon General Louis W. Sullivan, John Whitehead, Susan Whitehead, and Research!America President Mary Woolley. Former Rep. Paul G. Rogers is Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Board of Directors / Friends of the National Library of Medicine

cast 10-26-05