The Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 9, 2002
September 9, 2002
VOL. 32, NO. 2


Obituary: Eric Fyrberg, Biology Faculty Member for Two Decades, Dies at 51

By Michael Purdy
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Eric Fyrberg, a former faculty member of the Biology Department in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, died on Aug. 29 in Devon, England. Fyrberg, who was 51 when he died, had retired from Hopkins in 2000 as a professor.

Fyrberg's research interest was the study of muscles and their function, and he was known among his colleagues as a researcher who put in long hours in the laboratory.

"He was a tremendously motivated scientist," said Allen Shearn, professor of biology. "He worked incredibly hard. He never had a big lab, but he published a tremendous amount."

"Eric was always in the lab," agreed Victor Corces, current chairman of the department. "He was there day and night, and really was passionate about his research."

Fyrberg was also regarded as an excellent teacher and was the recipient of one of the Student Council's 1997 Distinguished Faculty Awards. At that time Fyrberg was serving on a committee working to improve the premedical curriculum, and in a story in The Gazette he noted with pleasure that he had been able to convey student opinions and information to the committee as they revised the curriculum.

"Eric was extremely good with undergrads--they just loved him," Corces said. "He was always willing to talk to them."

Fyrberg regularly taught a fall freshman seminar on the biology of the cardiovascular system, and in the spring he co-taught an undergraduate course in developmental biology with Corces. Shearn served on the search committee that brought Fyrberg to Hopkins in 1981 and also co-taught the developmental biology course with him for a time.

"I noticed that the students never seemed to care for my lectures, but they really did like Eric's," he recalled with a laugh. "I went to a few of them myself, and they really were quite good."

Evangelos Moudrianakis, also a Biology faculty member, said, "I always liked Eric because of his sincerity and his dedication to his principles, a rare commodity these days."

Fyrberg earned his doctorate in 1978 at Wesleyan University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He became a full professor at Hopkins in 1991.

Fyrberg is survived by his wife, Christine, of Devon, England; and in Maine by his parents, Carl and Edna Fyrbeg; two brothers, Ross and Paul Fyrberg; two sisters, Sara Deroche and Lisa Fournelle; and seven nieces and nephews.

According to an obituary in, the Fyrberg family has requested that memorial contributions be sent to Laudholm Farm, Laudholm Farm Road, Wells, Maine 04090.