Esau, Katherine(1898– ) botanist; born in Ekaterinoslav, Russia. She emigrated with her family to Germany (1919), finished college there (1922), then moved to the U.S.A. in 1922 to further her education. She taught botany at the University of California: Davis (1931–63), then moved to the University of California: Santa Barbara (1963–65). She made major contributions to the light and electron microscopy of virus-infected plants, and determined that certain viruses are transported with the plant's food via the phloem (food-conducting tissue). As a necessary adjunct to her studies of pathological anatomy, she made fundamental studies of vascular plant anatomy, phloem structure, and differentiation. After her retirement, she remained an active lecturer at many American institutions.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.