Philip Leder, who was honored with a 1987 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, along with Leroy Hood and Susumu Tonegawa for discoveries concerning the genetic basis of antibody diversity, has passed away. He was 85.

Leder began his long and fruitful career by making fundamental contributions in the race to decipher the genetic code while in the lab of Marshall Nirenberg at the National Institutes of Health. After moving to Harvard University, Leder started investigating how alterations in genetic arrangements on chromosomes could deregulate genes and drive cancerous growth. He combined this research with explorations of how genes of the immune system produce a vast array of antibodies.

In a video interview produced by the Lasker Foundation. Leder discussed his wide-ranging curiosity. In science, “passion is everything,” he said, “but if you can’t stand failure and disappointment, you can’t do this work.”