Obituary: Arthur Jay Eisenberg (1956-2018)
By Rajaneesh K Gopinath, Ph.D.
Forensic geneticist who helped families identify their kin through his pioneering work
Arthur J Eisenberg, who was fondly known as Art among his close friends, passed away on November 8th at the age of 62. Born on the 20th of May, 1956 in Bronx, New York to Armand and Rosalind Eisenberg, he received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the State University of New York at Albany in 1984.
Dr. Eisenberg rose to prominence as a pioneer in the field of DNA forensics and served as a distinguished member of several elite organizations. He has been part of the FBI’s Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methodologies (SWGDAM) and various committees of the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). At the request of the Director of the FBI, he was appointed to the United States DNA Advisory Board, as a Molecular Biologist where he later became Chairman. In 2011, the received the prestigious Paul L. Kirk Award for excellence in his field.
Dr. Eisenberg is widely credited for developing the techniques and standard operating procedures of DNA testing currently in use. His contributions to law enforcement span across cases involving serial killers, mass graves and other violent crimes. He participated in identifying the victims of mass fatalities such as the September 11 terrorist attacks and hurricane Katrina. He was also involved in high profile cases involving missing people and unidentified remains such as the case of missing boys in Arthur G. Dozier reformatory school in Florida. His colleagues say that he found more solace in knowing that his efforts helped families of victims.
Dr. Eisenberg helped establish the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification and guided it to become one of the top DNA laboratories in the country. He was also instrumental in establishing the Forensic Genetics Master of Science professional program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). The intensive program was designed as per the National Quality Assurance Standards adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and it helped train a generation of forensic analysts who served their nation in various capacities.
Dr. Eisenberg’s funeral service will be held at 10 am on November 15 at the Lucas Funeral Home on 1601 South Main Street Keller, Texas.
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