Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Donald Kennedy Dies

Donald Kennedy, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration and the former editor-in-chief of Science, has died of COVID-19, according to Stanford University. He was 88.

Kennedy, a neurobiologist, joined Stanford University's faculty in 1960 and created its interdisciplinary human biology program, the Los Angeles Times writes. He left Stanford briefly, between 1977 and 1979, to serve as FDA commissioner under President Jimmy Carter, the Mercury News notes. The LA Times adds that while leading FDA, Kennedy addressed issues such as a ban on saccharin, which was later overturned by Congress. "That established a principle. You shouldn't have cancer-causing substances in the food supply unless people like them a lot," he joked in 1991, according to the LA Times.

He became president of Stanford in 1980, the Mercury News says, and oversaw the expansion of its interdisciplinary studies and overseas campuses. He resigned in 1992, though, following a research-billing scandal, it adds, noting that he returned to teaching.

In 2000, Kennedy became the editor-in-chief of Science magazine and was involved in what Science describes as "sensitive" negotiations regarding the 2001 publishing of the human genome between the competing research groups as well as its rival journal, Nature.

According to Stanford, Kennedy suffered a serious stroke in 2015 and was in a residential care home.