Beatrice Mintz, Groundbreaking Cancer Researcher, Dies at 100

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Beatrice Mintz was born on Jan. 24, 1921, in the Bronx, the youngest of four children. Her parents, Samuel and Janie (Stein) Mintz, had migrated first to London and then to New York from the small town of Mikulintsy, which was part of Austrian Galicia and is now part of Ukraine. In New York, her father worked for a time in the garment industry as a presser, ironing clothes.

Beatrice, known as Bea, skipped some grades in school and went to Hunter College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year. She was planning to study art history but then took a biology course, liked her teacher and became so intrigued with the subject that she majored in it. She graduated magna cum laude in 1941. She studied for a year at New York University, then did her graduate work at the University of Iowa, where she earned her master’s degree in 1944 and a doctorate in 1946.

Her first job was as an instructor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1960. During that time, she studied in France on a Fulbright fellowship. But she preferred doing basic research to teaching and in 1960 transferred to Fox Chase, where she remained on the faculty until her death. She also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

She had no immediate survivors. Mr. Spallone, her executor, said in an interview that she left her estate to research organizations.

Dr. Mintz remained an art enthusiast. While in France, she bought several signed Picasso prints and hung them in her homes (she had two apartments, one close to her lab). She also wrote poetry, mostly about mice, but felt the poems were not good enough for public consumption, so she kept them in a desk drawer.

She had one of her first “multi-mice” stuffed by a taxidermist, as a kind of trophy. But the taxidermist had put it in a stalking pose that she felt was unnatural. It also went into a desk drawer.