Joram Piatigorsky: "Crossing Borders with Integrity" 3/26

Joram Piatigorsky was born in 1940 in Elizabethtown, NY a few months following his parents’ and sister’s escape from France and World War II. Wharton Club members and guests are invited!


joram-piatigorsky-cropped-color2-copyJoram Piatigorsky was born in 1940 in Elizabethtown, NY a few months following his parents’ and sister’s escape from France and World War II. His father, the late Gregor Piatigorsky, was the Russian-born, world-renowned cellist; his mother, Jacqueline de Rothschild, is the daughter of Baron Edouard de Rothschild of the French banking dynasty.

Unlike his family heritage of music and finance, Joram Piatigorsky is a research scientist. Raised in Los Angeles, he received an AB degree at Harvard College in 1962 and a Ph.D. degree at the California Institute of Technology in 1967. Piatigorsky then went to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD where he has conducted research on development and evolution of the eye throughout his career.

In 1981, he established and became Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology in the National Eye Institute, NIH. He has published and lectured extensively throughout the world, has received numerous awards, served on scientific editorial boards and review panels, and trained many postdoctoral scientists in his laboratory. He has been acclaimed for his research on the genetics of proteins of the lens and its evolution.

Among his distinctions are the 1986 Jonas Friedenwald Award, the highest distinction in vision science, from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the 2008 Helen Keller Foundation Prize for Vision Research, given internationally to one scientist per year. He became an Emeritus Scientist at NIH in 2009 and devotes his time to writing.

Piatigorsky writes fiction, blogs, memoir, and essays. While his writings, although not technical, include knowledge of science and being a professional scientist. His focus is psychologically oriented on the motivations and aspirations of people. His short stories have depth consistent with his scientific understanding of complexity while also reflecting the torment of striving for perfection and artistic expression. In his love for art, Piatigorsky has amassed a world-class collection of Inuit art, especially sculptures.  Piatigorsky lives with his wife, Lona, in Bethesda since 1967; they have two married sons and five grandchildren.



  • Wharton Club of DC Members - you can attend in-person with a free lunch or by Zoom

  • President's Club/Lifetime: You and 2 guests may attend
  • Other Members: Yourself only


12:00PM - 1:30PM Tue 26 Mar 2024, Eastern timezone


Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase,
7931 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA

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