Obituary from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dr. Leonard J. Zubrzycki, 82, of Pennsauken, who retired in 1994 as a professor of microbiology and immunology at Temple University School of Medicine, died Thursday, Sept. 4, at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, after a heart attack. Besides teaching at the medical school, “he directed the teaching laboratories in medical microbiology for most of his career at Temple,” Dr. Toby Eisenstein said in a phone interview. Eisenstein, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Temple medical school, said she was a longtime colleague of Dr. Zubrzycki. “He was a researcher in the nascent area of bacterial genetics,” she said. “In his early years in research,” she said, “he worked on describing the anaerobic bacteria that reside in our colon,” which means that they lack oxygen. “You have to have an oxygen-free environment in order to culture them in the laboratory.”

This work of his as a bacterial geneticist, she said, showed “that they vastly outnumbered the previously known organisms in the colon, like E. coli.“Eisenstein said that “later in his career, he developed the first molecular test” for detecting an infectious bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrheae, which causes a sexually transmitted disease. Dr. Zubrzycki and another Temple bacterial geneticist collaborated and “obtained a patent on this process,” she said. Dr. Zubrzycki was the founder and first editor of the newsletter for the Eastern Pennsylvania Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, his son-in-law, Joseph Cavalieri, said. He was also founder and first editor of the newsletter of the Polish American Citizens’ Club of Camden County, Cavalieri said.

A 1949 graduate of the former St. Joseph’s High School in Camden, Dr. Zubrzycki earned a bachelor’s of science at Temple University in 1953. He worked as a researcher at the former Wyeth Laboratories in Radnor for two years before earning a doctorate in medical microbiology and immunology at Temple. Mr. Zubrzycki then spent the rest of his career teaching medical students at Temple, his son-in-law said.

Besides his son-in-law, he is survived by his wife, Dolores; daughter Diane Cavalieri; a sister; and a grandson. Visitations were set from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, both at the Falco Caruso & Leonard Funeral Home, 6600 N. Browning Rd., Pennsauken, before a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at the Church of St. Peter, 43 W. Maple Ave., Merchantville, with interment in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Chews Landing.  Donations may be sent to the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Suite 800, 30 S. 17 St., Philadelphia 19103.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.carusocare.com.