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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c575

Irene E. Kochevar papers


The Irene E. Kochevar papers, 1971-2015 (inclusive) consist of records produced during Kochevar’s professional career as a photoscientist researching the effects of light and its applications for tissue repair, at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. The collection also includes records from her consulting work, patents, grant applications, and professional activities.


  • Creation: 1971-2015 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Papers are primarily in English, with some papers in Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice.

Access to some personal information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. Series I and Series V include restricted records. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


2.4 cubic feet (2 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box)

The Irene E. Kochevar papers, 1971-2015 (inclusive), consist of records produced during Kochevar’s professional career as a photoscientist researching the effects of light and its applications for tissue repair, at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. The collection also includes records from her consulting work, patents, and involvement with professional organizations.

The bulk of the papers originate primarily from Kochevar’s photomedical research. There are also papers from her work as a consultant for cosmetics companies, her faculty standing at Harvard Medical School, her patents for photochemical tissue bonding, her work on the Center for Scientific Review’s "General Medicine A" committee, her work with The Photomedicine Society, and her conference attendance. The records consist primarily of grant applications to the National Institutes of Health, as well as grant applications to the United States Department of Defense and other organizations. Other record types include research notes; correspondence with scientific collaborators; correspondence with administrators; scientific images (photographs, slides, and micrographs) and figures; brochures about grant opportunities; patent applications, with related legal correspondence; photographs; and other materials. The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Research records; Series II. Professional appointments records; Series III. Consulting records; Series IV. Patent records; and Series V. Other professional records.

Research records (Series I) consists of Kochevar’s grant applications, with accompanying research notes, correspondence, figures, and copies of scientific articles. Professional appointments records (Series II) consists of letters regarding Kochevar’s professional appointments, and other forms, letters, policy documents, and an anniversary publication. Consulting records (Series III) consists of records from Kochevar’s relationship as a consultant to outside companies. Patent records (Series IV), consists of patent applications and related legal material. And Other professional records (Series V) consists of records from Kochevar’s professional service and conference attendance.

Papers are predominantly in English. Some papers in Series I are in Japanese.

Biographical Note

Irene E. (Irene Emily) Kochevar, B.S., 1965, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; M.S., 1967, Michigan State University; Ph.D., 1970, Michigan State University, is Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and Biochemist at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Irene Emily (Hejl) Kochevar was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1943. She graduated from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, with a B.S. in biochemistry in 1965, an M.S. in biochemistry in 1967, and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1970. After work as a Research Chemist at Union Carbide Corporation, in Bound Book, New Jersey (1971-1973), research and teaching at Columbia University, New York City, New York (1973-1975, 1977-1981), and postdoctoral National Institutes of Health fellowships at New York University, New York City, New York (1970-1971) and Columbia (1975-1977), Kochevar was appointed Assistant Professor of Dermatological Biochemistry at Columbia. In 1981, she was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, where she earned the rank of Professor in 1999. She has held simultaneous appointments at the Massachusetts General Hospital since 1981. Her other appointments include a one year term as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemistry at University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (1986-1987); Associate Professor in the Division of Health Sciences & Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1988-1999); and Associated Faculty at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Technology Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2005-probably 2014). Kochevar has received National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense grant awards for her research. She has also done consulting work for cosmetics companies, including Procter & Gamble and Estée Lauder; and for a laboratory at Muro Pharmaceuticals in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Kochevar’s research has focused on the study of the photochemical and cell biological effects of ultraviolet light on the skin. Her process for photochemical tissue bonding involves using ultraviolet light to activate a dye that stimulates cross-linking of proteins, which Kochevar describes as "nanosutures." This technique has been used to close skin incisions and to heal corneal injuries. Kochevar served as Associate Editor for the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology (1983-1993) and later as Editor-in-Chief of the same publication (1994-1998), and as Associate Editor for Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, Photomedicine (1990-1999). She was also an organizing member of The Photomedicine Society, and served as Vice President of the Association Internationale de Photobiologie (1988-1992), President of the American Society for Photobiology (1986), and Board of Directors member of the Inter-American Photochemical Society (1998-2002). She served on the "General Medicine A" committee of the National Institutes of Health's Center for Scientific Review from 1997 to 2001, as well as on several other grant review committees and scientific advisory boards. Kochevar holds three patents for photochemical tissue bonding (7, 073,520; 8,092,490; and 8,215,314), with colleagues Robert Redmond, Barbara Chan, and others, for The General Hospital Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts. She has received numerous awards, including the American Society for Photobiology’s Photon Award in 1997 for service to the American Society for Photobiology; a fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1995; and other fellowships in chemistry early in her career.

Collection Arrangement

  1. I. Research records, 1971-2013
  2. II. Professional appointments records, 1976-2015
  3. III. Consulting records, 1988-2010
  4. IV. Patent records, 1999-2003
  5. V. Other professional records, 1975-2001

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Irene E. Kochevar in 2018.

  1. Accession number 2019-121. Irene E. Kochevar. 2019 February 02.

Processing Information

Processed by Charlotte Lellman, 2019 October.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, rehoused, and described the collection in a finding aid. File titles were transcribed from originals. Where original file titles were not present, titles devised by the archivist are shown in brackets on the physical folders.

Kochevar, Irene E. Papers, 1971-2015 (inclusive): Finding Aid.
Charlotte Lellman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
This collection was processed with funding from R. Rox Anderson.

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

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