Norman Bernard Hecht, 72, of Longport, New Jersey, passed away February 28, 2013, after two years of treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He was born in Newark, New Jersey on December 14, 1940. Norman graduated from Weequahic High School and received his B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and after attending Albany Medical School, received his PhD degree from the University of Illinois, C-U in Microbiology.
He was married to Mary Alice (Regnier) on June 16, 1968.
Norman’s scientific career began at the University of California, San Diego as a postdoctoral fellow. His first professorial post was at Tufts University where he taught genetics and conducted research for 27 years. In 1997, he accepted a named professorship at University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
Norman was a pioneer in the field of reproductive biology. He was one of the first to employ molecular biology in the study of spermatogenesis. His work was some of the first to demonstrate the phenomenon of postmeiotic transcription during mammalian spermatogenesis - a topic that was heavily debated prior to Norman's clarifying studies. Norman made many other primary observations while defining molecular mechanisms that regulate spermatogenesis-specific transcription. He then turned his attention to defining the molecular mechanisms governing post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in spermatogenic cells and largely pioneered that field as well. Norman was the author of over 200 publications and recipient of numerous scientific awards and honors.
His interests included daily exercise and overseas travel. He lived abroad for extended periods of time, always taking his family along while working in laboratories in Holland, Finland, Rome, Israel, Australia, and Japan.
Norman was survived by his wife, Mary, and their two children, David in San Francisco, and Rachelle in Seattle, and 4 grandchildren.
Memorial services are planned for early August in New Jersey. Donations to cancer research are appreciated in lieu of flowers.
>Notes of condolence may be sent to Mary Hecht at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com.
>The family asks that donations be made to cancer research in lieu of