Among the many extraordinary North Central College teachers of science was Dr. Irvin A. Koten, professor of chemistry, whose active research lab gave dozens of chemistry, zoology and biology majors a head start in their quest for medical and graduate school admission.
Less visible but just as key to the prolonged success of the research program was Dr. Isaac Einsel ’19, who quietly donated the necessary funding and equipment over more than 10 years, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. He also served as a mentor to the ambitious lab participants, nearly all of whom went on to earn advanced degrees.
A surgeon based in Cleveland, Einsel drove to North Central frequently to check on the results and to assist in teaching research procedures. In the Goldspohn Hall basement, students conducted many studies over the years, including immunological approaches to preventing and treating malignancies. Einsel was convinced that cancer was an immune disease.
“The lab was something special that North Central offered at the time and Einsel’s donations kept it running,” says Dr. Bill Raduege ’61, a physician who continues to practice part time in Woodruff, WI. “We would grow the tumors in rats or we’d anesthetize them and perform surgery. It was fun and interesting and it was work that one would normally do in graduate school.”
Dr. Dennis Wentz ’57 was a leader in the lab before he went to the University of Chicago for medical school and, later, on to a career in medical education.“The process of rigorous thinking in trying to set up the research was very beneficial—and the regular sessions with Dr. Koten and Dr. Einsel during his visits were so stimulating to a young student,” says Wentz. “While there were temporary encouraging signs, (the research) was never significant scientifically. But Dr. Koten and Dr. Einsel both were an inspiration to keep the experiment going when early results were disappointing.”
Among Raduege’s favorite memories are driving to the University of Chicago to obtain the rats and also going out to dinner with Einsel, who would treat the student-researchers to special dinners at a restaurant called the Spinning Wheel in Hinsdale, IL. Raduege remembers Einsel explaining how he’d invested $2,000 in the stock market in the early 1930s. “From what he told us, I figured he had about $200,000 at that time,” adds Raduege, quite a fortune in the eyes of a college senior in the early ’60s.
North Central Now Spring 2011