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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Stier Lecture in Medicine

The Robert F. E. Stier Memorial Lecture in Medicine, presented this year by Dr. Larry Sherman, is titled Targeting the extracellular matrix to reverse neurodegeneration.

Dr. Sherman is a Professor of Neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University and the President of the Oregon and Southwest Washington Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. He has over 90 publications related to brain development and neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. He serves several US and international scientific review panels for the US National Institutes of Health, the US Congressionally directed Medical Research Programs, and others. He has made numerous television appearances discussing topics such as the neuroscience of pleasure and love, music and the brain, the neuroscience of racism, and the neuroscience of concussions. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine recognized Dr. Sherman as one of the “People who are changing our world.” He was also the 2012 Teacher of the Year at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.


About the Robert F.E. Stier Lecture in Medicine
The purpose of the Stier lecture is to feature key leaders in medicine whose works have increased professional and public understanding of new technologies and challenging issues. The lectures began in 1996 and are funded by an endowment established by Alton R. Stier, M.D., and Robert A. (Bud) Stier, M.D., in honor of their father, Robert F.E. Stier, a co-founder of Hollister Stier pharmaceutical manufacturing that began in Spokane in 1921.

About Robert F.E. Stier, Spokane physician, businessman
In 1921, Dr. Robert F. E. Stier and Guy Hollister started the first clinical laboratory in Spokane outside of the hospitals and prepared their first batch of allergy medicine. The company grew into the international Hollister-Stier pharmaceutical manufacturing company that still has a division in Spokane.

Stier also was the pathologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Spokane and had developed an extensive service area for lab and tissue pathology services in eastern Washington, Idaho, eastern Oregon, western Montana and British Columbia. Stier and Hollister added sales of allergy products to the regional service area, and the company eventually expanded its territory nationally and internationally until Hollister Stier Laboratories became the largest allergen manufacturer in the world.

Stier also started one of the earliest postgraduate education programs in the region. Teaching bacteriology and pathology to nursing students and interns at St. Luke’s Hospital expanded to many years of teaching bacteriology at Gonzaga University. He also lectured at Whitworth University, Eastern Washington University, and Washington State University in Spokane.

In 1955, Hollister Stier became a subsidiary of Cutter Laboratories, and thus began a series of mergers and acquisitions. In 2017, the Hollister Stier pharmaceutical manufacturing division in Spokane is owned by Jubiliant Life Sciences headquartered in India.

Robert F. E. Stier’s influence in the community extended to medical practice, teaching, and business that helped to make Spokane the medical and educational center that we find today. His two sons – Robert A. and Alton R. Stier – both became physicians and businessmen in Spokane and joined together to honor their father with the Robert F.E. Stier Lecture in Medicine at WSU Spokane. Lectures began in 1996 with the purpose of featuring key leaders in medicine whose works have increased professional and public understanding of new technologies and challenging issues.



Past Stier Lectures