OBITUARIES 2014

IN 2013

R. Wayne Albers (died on September 28, 2013, at 85) was a world-recognized neuroscientist most noted for his research in the field of membrane cation transport and neuronal excitability in the nervous system. He was a scientist emeritus and former chief of the Section on Enzyme Chemistry in the NINDS Laboratory of Neurochemistry. He came to NIH in 1954. Albers also was one of the founding co-editors of the comprehensive text Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects, first published in 1972, continuing as co-editor for eight editions, the latest published in 2012.

John Milner (died on December 31, 2013, at 66), well known for his broad understanding of nutrition and its role in cancer prevention, was chief of the Nutritional Science Research Group in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention (1999–2012). After leaving NIH, he became the director and senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Center (Beltsville, Maryland).

IN 2014

George Gilbert “Gil” Ashwell (died on June 27, 2014, at 97) was chief of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Metabolism in the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, and held that position (through the institute’s name changes) through most of his NIH career. He was a pioneer in the field of glycobiology and world-renowned for co-discovering the “Ashwell-Morrell” receptor in the liver, perhaps the first receptor ever described. Researchers worldwide use the basis of Ashwell’s work to deliver drugs specifically to the liver. The receptor also plays a key role in limiting the aggregation of platelets in life-threatening complications of infection.

James Bahre (died on October 2, 2014, at 73) provided scientific instruments for NIH medical researchers, working first for Beckman Instruments and then Fuji Corporation. In 1987, he was honored with the NIH Director’s Award for his contributions to the advancement of science, the only non-NIH person to ever receive this prestigious award.

Alessandra Margherita Bini (died on February 26, 2014, at 63) was a highly accomplished and respected scientist and a program director at NCI. She was passionate about furthering research on cancer disparities and promoting the careers of young scientists. In addition to having been published in many scientific journals, Bini had been awarded four U.S. patents for medical technologies that she had invented.

Willy Burgdorfer (died on November 17, 2014, at 89) was a medical entomologist at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (Hamilton, Montana). He gained international acclaim for identifying the cause of Lyme disease—the Lyme spirochete that was later named for him (Borrelia burgdorferi). He was also an internationally recognized expert on rickettsial diseases such as typhus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

William G. Coleman Jr. (died on August 18, 2014, at 72) was a distinguished researcher at NIH for 40 years and became the first permanent African-American scientific director in the history of the NIH Intramural Research Program when he was appointed to direct NIMHD’s intramural research program in January 2011.

Morris F. Collen (died on September 27, 2014, at 100), a valued advisor to the NLM, was a medical-computing pioneer and was known around the world as “Mr. Medical Informatics.” He was a member of the Lister Hill Board of Scientific Counselors; served on the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee, which advises NLM on the journals to be indexed in MEDLINE–PubMed; contributed to NLM long-range planning; and, as an NLM scholar-in-residence (1987–1993), wrote a highly regarded history of the medical applications of the computer.

Robert E. Cooke (died on February 2, 2014, at 93), a pediatrician, was a member of President John F. Kennedy’s presidential task force that laid the groundwork for the founding of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in 1962. Cooke continued his involvement with the institute including serving on the NICHD intramural program’s board of scientific councilors.

Roselyn Epps (died on September 29, 2014, at 84), a special expert in NCI’s Public Health Applications Branch, focused on spreading knowledge both nationally and internationally about research results on smoking prevention and cessation. She became the first African-American to be the national president of the American Medical Women’s Association.

Nancy McCartney Francis (died on January 24, 2014, at 63) was an immunologist in NIDCR. Much of her research focused on transforming growth factor–beta (TGF-beta) and immune function, inflammation, and mechanisms of host defense with special relevance to autoimmune diseases. She helped demonstrate that TGF-beta is an extremely potent chemoattractant. Her pioneering observations also advanced our knowledge of the nitric oxide pathway that is now appreciated to be instrumental in innate and adaptive immunity with implications for targeted therapeutic approaches.

William Galey (died on May 17, 2014, at 71) oversaw the Howard Hughes Medical Institute–NIH Research Scholars Program, which gave outstanding students at U.S. medical schools the opportunity to receive NIH research training.

Mark Garfield (died on September 1, 2014, at 61) was a chemist in NIAID who specialized in Edman sequencing, a method of sequencing NH2-terminal amino acids. Although many experiments that once used Edman sequencing now rely on mass spectrometry, NH2-terminal sequencing still occupies a very important niche in biomedical research.

Steven Goldberg (died on November 25, 2014, at 73), chief of the NIDA’s Pre-clinical Pharmacology Section, made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the behavioral and neuropharmacological mechanisms triggered by drugs of abuse.

Clara Hall (died on May 28, 2014, at 83) was a research chemist at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (now NIDDK) for 40 years before retiring in 1999.

Mary Ruth Calley Hartman (died May 9, 2014, at 92) was chief of the special events section in the Clinical Center. In her work coordinating logistics for programs, lectures, and meetings, she greeted such dignitaries as President Gerald Ford, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Senator Edward Kennedy, the wife of Prime Minister James Callaghan of the United Kingdom, the wife of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and Prince and Princess Hitachi of Japan.

Terrell Leslie Hill (died on January 23, 2014, at 96), a physical chemist and molecular biologist, was chief of NIDDK’s Section on Theoretical Molecular Biology. He spent roughly equal parts of his career at the University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon), University of California at Santa Cruz, and NIH. He was among the first to emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research across chemistry, biology, and physics; was the first to apply statistical mechanics to physical adsorption; originated the field of small-system thermodynamics and used it to model molecular aggregates and polymers; introduced a general diagram method for steady-state kinetics and used it to develop the principles of free-energy transduction in biological systems; and combined statistical mechanics and biochemical kinetics for a theory of muscle contraction and ciliary motion.

Albert Z. Kapikian (died on February 24, 2014, at 83) was a pioneering virologist at NIAID who discovered the norovirus (initially called the Norwalk virus) and led a decades-long effort that resulted in the first licensed rotavirus vaccine. Noroviruses are now recognized as a major cause of epidemic diarrhea in adults worldwide. He was the chief of the epidemiology section of NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, a position he held for 45 years. Kapikian often was called the father of human gastroenteritis virus research for his work on improving the understanding and prevention of viral diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract. In 1973, Kapikian and his colleagues identified the hepatitis A virus. He also was the first scientist in the United States to detect human rotavirus, the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children. Kapikian and his research group defined the mode of transmission of rotavirus, identified the viral proteins critical for triggering an immune response and formulated a vaccine that targeted several important rotavirus strains. These efforts ultimately led to the development, testing and approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 of the first rotavirus vaccine.

Hector Lopez (died June 21, 2014, at 66) was a scientist with expertise in medical ultrasound imaging and a program director in the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

William R. Lynn (died November 18, 2014, at age 68) was a federal health officer who helped manage anti-smoking efforts for NIH and the Office of the Surgeon General. He was a health officer in Indiana and Massachusetts before joining the National Cancer Institute in 1979. Among his projects, he helped run two of the nation’s first community-based anti-smoking initiatives—COMMIT and ASSIST. He also edited Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s report on the effects of secondhand smoke and helped hire celebrities, including Brooke Shields and Mia Hamm, as anti-smoking spokespersons. 

Donald Morton (died on Jan 10, 2014, at 79), who did a fellowship at NCI in the 1960s, gained renown as a cancer surgeon and researcher (at the University of California Los Angeles’s cancer center) for developing the sentinel lymph node biopsy, which was adapted for breast cancer and melanoma. Previously surgeons treating breast cancer would remove many nearby lymph nodes in an effort to prevent the spread of cancer, but Morton’s technique involved first testing the lymph nodes nearest the tumor—if they had no malignant cells, then there was no need to remove any other lymph nodes.

S. Harvey Mudd (died January 21, 2014, at 86) was a physician and researcher at NIMH. His discoveries helped lead to the routine screening of newborn infants for certain metabolic irregularities that might have serious long-term consequences. He was a primary contributor in figuring out how various forms of metabolic disorders occur and in developing processes to prevent, treat, cure, or mitigate such disorders. His research led to the practice of putting folic acid into the flour supply to help prevent birth defects. Manufacturers also made changes in baby-food formulas as a result of his work.

J. Frederic Mushinski (died on December 18, 2014, at 76) was head of the Molecular Genetics Section in the NCI Laboratory of Genetics and the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics. His research focused on the roles of the proteins MYC and PKC in transformation and differentiation (and he was well known for his willingness to share many reagents and cell lines.) He studied intraperitoneal oil-induced BALB/c mouse plasmacytomas and the other hematopoietic neoplasms that arise in the same experimental conditions: myeloid-, T- and B-cell lymphomas. His wife Betty, who survives him, worked as a senior research associate for NCI’s Mike Potter.

Eddie Reed (died on May 28, 2014, at 60), NIMHD’s clinical director, was a giant in the fields of cancer pharmacology and health disparities. His clinical research focused on DNA damage and repair in cancer cells in response to pharmacological anticancer agents. He received two United States Public Health Service Commendation Medals for his work on the clinical development of the powerful anticancer agent paclitaxel. Reed worked in NCI from 1981 to 2001 and was a tenured senior investigator when he left in 2001 to become director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University (Morgantown). In 2005, he joined the CDC as the director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control; in 2008, he returned to clinical care as an endowed professor at the Mitchell Cancer Center at the University of South Alabama (Mobile); and in 2013, he returned to the NIH in as NIMHD’s clinical director.

Martin John Rogers (died in September 2014 at 54), a biologist in NIAID’s Parasitology and International Programs Branch, specialized in tropical diseases, particularly malaria.

S. Stephen Schiaffino (died on April 3, 2014, at 86), who retired in 1987, was the director of the Division of Research Grants and senior science advisor to the NIH Director (James Wyngaarden).

Sherry S. Sherman (died October 21, 2014, at 66), the former director of clinical endocrinology and osteoporosis research at NIA, led and established a nationwide, extensive scientific study on women’s health.

Albert Sjoerdsma (died on February 27, 2014, at 89) helped to define the emerging field of clinical pharmacology in the 1950s and 1960s. He began his NIH career in the Experimental Therapeutics Branch of the National Heart Institute (now NHLBI), acting first as senior investigator (1953–1958) and later as chief of Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry (1958–1971). He diagnosed and defined the carcinoid syndrome, an unusual cancer characterized by serotonin-filled tumors; established the mechanism of action of the first antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors; and measured serotonin, dopamine, and other amines in bananas and other foods. In 1971 he left the NIH for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, where he was responsible for several new drugs including the antihistamine fexofenadine. He went on to develop drugs for epilepsy and African sleeping sickness and eventually became president of Merrell Dow Research Institute.

Jesse Steinfeld (died on August 5, 2014, at 87) served as surgeon general (1969–1973) under President Richard Nixon. Before that he was a deputy director in NCI. As surgeon general, he fought tobacco use: He issued a report focused on the dangers of second-hand smoke; proposed a Non-Smoker’s Bill of Rights; strengthened the warning on cigarette packages; and issued the first ban on smoking in certain government buildings.

Ellen Lee Simon Stover (died on March 16, 2014, at 63) was following in the footsteps of her father, Ralph Simon (NIMH), when she began work as a psychologist at NIMH. Beginning in 1983, she pioneered the NIMH initiative for research on AIDS and later became the director of the Division on AIDS Research. Her work on the behavioral and psychological factors contributing to the transmission of AIDS was instrumental in developing successful programs for education, prevention, and treatment.

John H. Weisburger (died February 17, 2014, at 92), head of NCI’s Carcinogen Screening Section and later director of the Bioassay Carcinogenesis Programs, studied the effects of environmental chemicals on the alteration of the structure and function of DNA, contributing pioneering work on the mechanism of the carcinogen 2-acetylaminofluorene. He established a research program in nutrition and cancer that focused on heterocyclic amines in cooked foods and on tea as a chemopreventive agent.

Mitchel Mitsuo Yokoyama (died January 9, 2014, at 86), who worked in the NIH Blood Bank from 1959 to 1964, made significant contributions in the areas of blood typing, forensic medicine, and immunology. He carried out his pioneering research in blood typing at NIH, discovering subtypes of blood groups B and Rh and becoming an internationally recognized authority. His later research shed light on how the immune system interacts with the nervous system and responds to stress. Novelist Erle Stanley Gardner, with whom Yokoyama developed a long-time friendship, based some of his Perry Mason stories on cases from Yokoyama’s early forensic career. Yokoyama even determined George Washington’s blood type (B or AB) from a hair sample.

Robert W. Zwanzig (died on May 15, 2014, at 86), former chief of the Section on Theoretical Biophysics in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Chemical Physics, was a brilliant theoretical chemist and biophysicist. Well known for his ability to describe a wide variety of physical phenomena using very sophisticated model systems of his own invention, he produced fundamental works on the theory of rate processes, including protein folding.