Lepeshinskaia, Ol’ga Borisovna
(née Protopopova). Born Aug. 6 (18), 1871, in Perm’; died Oct. 2, 1963, in Moscow. Activist in the Russian revolutionary movement. Soviet biologist; academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR (1950). Member of the Communist Party (1898).
Lepeshinskaia was born into a bourgeois family. She studied at Lausanne and in Moscow at the university’s medical department, graduating in 1915. In 1894 she joined the work of the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. In 1897 she followed her husband, P. N. Lepeshinskii, into exile, where she served as a feldsher in the village of Kuragino (Eniseisk Province). She was one of 17 exiles to sign the “Protest of the Russian Social Democrats” against the Economists faction. In 1900 she helped organize a group in Pskov to assist Iskra.
Lepeshinskaia lived in exile from 1903 to 1906. From 1906 to 1910 she conducted party work in Orsha; later, she worked as a physician in Moscow and the Crimea. She was a member of the revolutionary committee of Podmoskovnaia station in 1917. In 1919 she went to Tashkent to teach and to conduct scientific work. Later she became involved in similar work in Moscow, where, in 1949, she joined the Institute of Experimental Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Lepeshinskaia’s major scientific works dealt with animal cell membranes and the histology of bony tissue. Her notion of the noncellular structure of living matter was rejected for lack of substantiation. Lepeshinskaia was awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1950), the Order of Lenin, and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.