Professor Martin I. Rubin passed away on March 24, 2006 from congestive heart failure. He was the fourth president of the IFCC from 1967 to 1973 and recipient of the first IFCC Distinguished International Services Award. He was a Georgetown University emeritus professor of biochemistry and worked tirelessly in promoting the field of clinical chemistry.
Martin Israel Rubin was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1916 and graduated from the City College of New York in 1936. He received a doctorate in chemistry from Columbia University in 1942 and did post-doctoral training in clinical chemistry at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He began his career working on the development of Desenex and other fungicides as a research chemist with Wallace and Tiernan Products Inc. in the United States.
Dr. Rubin worked at Georgetown from 1948 to 1981. For much of his tenure, he was director of the medical center's clinical chemistry laboratory and a biochemistry professor in the medical and dental schools. In the clinical chemistry lab, he did notable work on the science of chelation, to remove those metals from the body. Dr. Rubin became an advocate of using EDTA as a chelating agent for the treatment of lead poisoning. More controversially, he supported the rigorous study of EDTA to treat atherosclerosis and plaque in the arteries. The approved use of EDTA for those treatments is still pending. Early on, Dr. Rubin also introduced the use of bar coding on patient specimens to reduce lost or mislabeled results.
Dr. Rubin helped promote the field of clinical chemistry as a formal discipline, Dr. Rubin was among the first members of AACC. He served as a member of the AACC board and co-founded the AACC Washington chapter. He was the fourth president of the IFCC from 1967 to 1973 and is credited with expanding the participating member countries from 17 to 42. He was responsible for ensuring that the WHO and other international organizations accepted the IFCC as a non-governmental organization. He also founded the Latin American Federation of Clinical Chemistry and lectured at professional forums from Ecuador to Australia. He did consulting work for the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Justice Department.
The community of Clinical Chemists has suffered a great loss.