Leonard J. Schiff, PhD

The Society For In Vitro Biology (SIVB) recognizes the life and achievements of Dr. Leonard J. Schiff who passed away on September 13, 2007 at his home in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Schiff was born and raised in Weatherford, Oklahoma and was a life-long and passionate fan of the Oklahoma Sooners football team. His undergraduate education began in biology and Medical Technology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. After serving in the U.S. Army and assignments at the Fitzsimons General Hospital Army Medical Research & Nutrition Laboratory, he earned his Master’s degree in Microbiology and Doctoral degree in Virology from Colorado State University. Dr. Schiff had a distinguished scientific career in the biotechnology industry, serving as Senior Microbiologist, Life Sciences Division IIT Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois; Coordinator Regulatory Affairs, In Vitron Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri; Senior Scientist & Manager Regulatory Services, Microbiological Associates, Inc., Rockville, MD; Director Technical and Regulatory Support, Biosafety Testing Services, Primedica, Rockville, MD and most recently as Senior Scientist, Regulatory Affairs, Biopharmaceutical Services, Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, MA. Dr. Schiff retired from Charles River in 2006 and returned to his much beloved Colorado Mountains.

Dr Schiff’s early contributions to in the field of in vitro biology included the development of stem cells from human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and epithelial cell models for cancer research. His later contributions were in the regulatory documentation and compliance for the development of biotechnology products derived from mammalian cells. As an expert in the development and manufacturing of therapeutic biologics, he served on the FDA, Center of Biologic Evaluation and Research (CBER), and Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) workshops and panels throughout his career. Dr. Schiff had numerous publications, presentations and awards. His prestigious awards included the International Union Against Cancer Research Technology and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London England and Strangeways Research Laboratories, Cambridge, England. His professional affiliations included the SIVB; Regulatory Affairs Society; Drug Information Association; Parenteral Drug Association and the International Association of Biological Standardization.

Dr. Schiff joined the SIVB in 1974, when it was known as the Tissue Culture Association (TCA). An active member, colleague and friend, he was recognized and received Cellular Toxicology Fellow status in 2004 for his scientific work and generous contributions to the Society. He served as President of the Midwest Tissue Culture Association from 1981-1983. In addition to his roles as: reviewing editor, In Vitro Animal Cellular and Development Biology; Editorial Board, In Vitro Toxicology; Cellular Toxicology Section scientific speaker and symposium convener, Dr. Schiff was active in the TCA/SIVB Records and Historical Committee. He served as the Records and Historical Committee and Historical Society Secretary 1994-1995, President-elect 1995-1996 and President 1996-2005. Dr. Schiff organized many History Society programs and events and in 1997 published the History of the Society for In Vitro Biology. Leonard Schiff understood the value of preserving the recognition of pioneering in vitro biology, the scientists and historical information that documented the growth, maintenance and in vitro experimental use of cells, tissues and organs. To facilitate the preservation of SIVB records and documents, Dr. Schiff was instrumental in establishing the SIVB historical archives located in the main library of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.

Dr. Leonard J. Schiff was a compassionate man, with a sense of humor and enthusiasm for life. In addition to the many colleagues who note and mourn his passing, he is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Anne; two sons, Eric and Ryan; daughter-in-law, Rebecca; and three grandchildren, Myranda, John, and Isadore. A memorial service for Dr. Schiff was held in Denver Colorado on November 10, 2007. Those wishing to send personal notes to the family can contact Ryan Schiff, Salsbery & Schneider, 95 Commercial Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, telephone (612) 227-7788, or email Memorial contributions can be sent to the Amyloidosis Research Foundation ( or the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers Foundation, 1161 S. Vivian Street, Lakewood, CO 80228.

Respectfully Submitted,
Sandra L. Schneider
Chair History & Records Committee
Associate Editor, In Vitro Cellular and Development Biology – Animal


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