Scientific spirit soars

"Bo" Koster's love of science inspires contributions of others

Researcher using pipette in laboratory

BY Michele Hoeft

One person can make a difference in the world. Some people accomplish this through their work, some through their personal relationships, and some through their commitment to the community. Joseph C. “Bo” Koster, PhD, managed to make a difference in each of those aspects through his life’s work advancing medicine.  

A St. Louis native, avid runner and bird watcher, Koster began working in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine as a graduate student. He turned down postdoctoral opportunities on the West Coast in order to stay within the department and work with Colin G. Nichols, PhD, the Carl F. Cori Professor.

Koster loved everything about science and being in the lab; his work set a high standard. In his later research, he discovered one of the fundamental causes of neonatal diabetes, a discovery that led to a revolution in therapy, allowing many patients to switch their therapy from insulin shots to pills.

His findings made a difference in the lives of many.

Sadly, he passed away in February, 2010. His important research findings remain alive in the work of his research partner Nichols as he continues their groundbreaking work.

“Bo was an important member of our departmental community,” says Philip D. Stahl, PhD, professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology. “He was deeply and passionately engaged in his research and made the lab his second home. He is missed.”

Koster’s life pursuit was medical research; his devotion to this field led his uncle, Col. Charles R. Stribling III and his wife, Winnie Runge-Stribling, to establish an endowed fund in their nephew’s name. The Joseph C. Koster Memorial Fund has become a lasting tribute to him, and it inspires other researchers to make their own life-changing contributions to medical research.  

Koster’s important work continues to be a focus for Nichols’ lab.  His family, brother R. Stribling Koster and sister Ann Antoniou, hope that the medical discoveries initiated by their brother will lead to better treatments for patients. Although Joseph C. “Bo” Koster is no longer with us, he continues to make a difference in the lives around us.

« previous story
back to top
next story »