Obituaries 2017


David A. Cooney (died on October 8, 2016, at 78), who spent most of his career studying anticancer and anti–human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) therapeutics, came to the Laboratory of Toxicology at the National Cancer Institute in 1964, was head of the biochemistry section in the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology (1977–1988), and then was a supervisory scientist in the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry until his retirement in 1998. His research accomplishments from the late 1960s into the early 1980s established him as a leading scientist in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology, especially relating to various families of anticancer drugs. The results of Cooney’s research from the early HIV years until his retirement in 1998 labeled him as one of the few pioneers who identified the mode of action of numerous nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors.

Bettie Jean Hessie (died on December 21, 2016, at 78) retired from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in 1999 after 34 years as a medical writer, editor, and consultant. She also co-authored a book on antiepileptic drugs.

IN 2017

Faye Glenn Abdellah (died on February 4, 2017, at 97) was the founding dean of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing and a retired rear admiral of the Public Health Service. In the mid-1960s, she worked in NIH’s Division of Nursing and was the first nurse and the first woman to serve as deputy surgeon general (with U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop) and was the first nurse to hold the rank of rear admiral. Her leadership resulted in many accomplishments, including the development of the first tested coronary-care unit, saving thousands of lives.

Darrell Robert Abernethy (died on November 18, 2017, at 68) embarked on a career in academic medicine and later research medicine. He served on the medical faculties at several universities before joining the National Institute on Aging, where he directed a program to better understand the effects of drugs in older patients. He worked as a clinical pharmacologist, a physician–scientist, and an internist specializing in geriatric medicine until his death.

Linda Frances Anderson (died on June 11, 2017, at 67) was formerly a member of the communications staff at the National Cancer Institute.

Calvin “Cal” Benham Baldwin Jr. (died on June 28, 2017, at 91) was a founding member—and a board member—of the NIH Alumni Association and the Children’s Inn at NIH. He was an administrator for 33 years at NIH and served as executive officer of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, of the National Cancer Institute, and of the Division of General Medical Sciences (before NIGMS was created), and as NIH associate director for administration. He is survived by his wife, Ann Baldwin Nucci, who worked in NIH’s Office of Human Resources for 31 years, retiring in 2015.

Soojay Banerjee (died on October 23, 2017, at 50), a biochemist who specialized in the purification of proteins for structural analysis, came to NIH in 2005 to join the Richard Youle’s laboratory (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) and in 2012, he also joined Sriram Subramaniam’s laboratory (National Cancer Institute). In Youle’s group, Banerjee played a key role in the identification of the first ubiquitin kinase. In the Subramaniam lab, he led a project that led to the first high-resolution structure of the AAA+ ATPase protein 97 with cryoelectron microscopy and the discovery of a mechanism by which a small-molecule inhibitor of the protein blocked function. He also played a key role in projects that further advanced the field of cryoelectron microscopy,

Michael A. Beaven (died on April 8, 2017, at 80), an expert in mast-cell biology and the roles of mast cells in immunological processes, began working at NIH in 1962, first as a visiting fellow in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He rapidly rose through the ranks to become a tenured scientist and eventually deputy chief in NHLBI’s Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. After formally retiring in 2010 after more than 47 years at NHLBI, he became an NIH scientist emeritus and continued to work full time.

Erwin Bellack (died on July 31, 2017, at 97), a chemist with three federal agencies, was best known for his work on the fluoridation of public drinking water. He was a chemist with the Public Health Service’s division of dental public health from 1954 to 1973.

Robert Lewis Berger (died on July 29, 2017, at 91) worked at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 1962 to 1994. A physicist by training, he studied the fast reactions of hemoglobin and its ligands in the blood, which spurred him to develop an entirely new line of instrumentation that ultimately had applications in other fields as well. For example, the ball mixer he designed in 1964 is still in use and became known in some circles as “The Classic Berger.” His wife of 36 years is Victoria Harden, the former director of the Office of NIH History and the Stetten Museum at NIH.

Charlotte Roberta Hawkins Bryan (died on October 31, 2017, at 102) took a supervisory position in the Nutrition Department in the NIH Clinical Center in 1961. She retired in 1981 as a timekeeper and secretary in the National Cancer Institute.

Kristine Lynne Buchler (died on August 31, 2017, at 74) was a microbiologist at NIH.

Carlos E. Caban (died on May 1, 2017, at 75) retired from NIH in 2008 after 38 years of service. He began his NIH career as a research scientist, moved to the NCI as a review administrator, became a program director for Cancer Control Research, and served as a program policy officer in the Office of Extramural Research. He was a major contributor to NIH publications and guidelines on the inclusion of women, minorities, and children in clinical research, served a term as president of the NIH Hispanic Employees Organization, and received many awards for his contributions to NIH.

Kevin John Catt (died on October 1, 2017, at 85) worked at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development from 1970 until his retirement in 2012. He served as chief of the Endocrinology and Reproduction Research Branch, where he led an internationally recognized group working on hormone receptors, signaling, and actions.

Peter Chines (died on July 10, 2017, at 50) began his career at NIH in 1997 as a computer scientist and database programmer in Francis Collins’s lab in the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Molecular Genetics Section. Chines was an expert in designing and managing complex databases, programming elegant ways to deal with many different sequence and phenotype data types, and designing experiments to navigate complicated problems.

Paul Chretien (died on August 16, 2017, at 86), a pioneer of head-and-neck tumor immunology, was an National Cancer Institute (NCI) senior investigator (1966–1972) and chief of the Tumor Immunology Section in NCI’s Surgery Branch (1972–1980). He was among the first to characterize deficiencies in T-lymphocyte function in patients with head-and-neck cancer and to compare impaired immune reactivity in head-and-neck cancer to other cancer types and correlated these findings with treatment outcomes. He also was among the first to characterize the immune effects of chronic smoking and of radiation therapy in patients with head-and-neck cancer. He left the NIH in the 1980s to take a faculty position at the University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland).

Andrew Dwyer (died on October 26, 2017, at 70) was a staff clinician in the NIH Clinical Center’s Radiology Department (from 1977 until his death). His main research focus was on the use of the principles of formal logic, probability theory, and possibility theory to elucidate the reasoning used in the interpretation of diagnostic images and to express the levels of diagnostic certainty.

Rhea Moore Frazier (died on May 30, 2017, at 69) was a program assistant in the NIH Clinical Center’s Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education.

Richard W. Hendler (died on August 8, 2017, at 90) was an accomplished biochemist who was part of the NIH and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute family for 48 years beginning in 1952. He worked on energy-driven proton pumps and developed techniques to follow the path of protons across cell membranes, which had far-reaching implications for many types of biomedical investigations. He first came to the NIH as a fellow of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, and he later joined Christian Anfinsen’s laboratory in 1955 in what was then called the National Heart Institute and worked in the area of protein synthesis. Particularly important was Hendler’s development of new linear algebra–based mathematical techniques for isolating absolute visible and infrared spectra of intermediates and better defining the kinetic sequence of events. Such insight has proven to be valuable for unraveling the kinetic steps of plaque formation in Alzheimer disease, for example. Hendler retired in 2000 but continued to work as a volunteer and then, in 2002, as a scientist emeritus. In his later years, he pursued research both at the NIH and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

A. Everette James (died on March 14, 2017, at 78), a former visiting scientist at NCI (1991–1992), began his professional career as director of Radiological Research Laboratories at Johns Hopkins Medical School (Baltimore). In 1975, he was appointed chair and professor of radiological sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville). He founded the Vanderbilt Center for Medical Imaging Research.

Martin Katz (died on January 12, 2017, at 89) helped to establish the field of neuropsychopharmacology and was one of the first researchers to study the action of antidepressants on mentally ill patients. He spent most of his career at the National Institute on Mental Health and was chief of its clinical research branch (1968–1978). More important, he developed behavioral methodology—such as the Katz Adjustment Scale—to study the effects of antidepressants.

Amar Klar (died on March 5, 2017, at 69) was a member of the National Cancer Institute community since 1988 as part of the Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory. His seminal contributions were key in the discovery of gene silencing in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and fission yeast (Schizosccharomyces pombe) and the demonstration that cell-type changes can be mediated by site-specific DNA substitutions in those organisms. He was a co-discoverer of the SIR2 gene and the role sirtuin histone deacetylases play in gene regulation. Most intriguing and provocative, Amar’s work demonstrated that the two strands of DNA need not have identical genetic properties. While it’s assumed that the “Watson and Crick” strands, when replicated, pass the same genetic information to daughter cells, Amar showed that they can be differentially imprinted so that daughter cells have different developmental fates. Much of his recent work demonstrated that such differences in the DNA strands could control developmental asymmetry, such as the position of the heart, handedness, and brain laterality. One of Amar’s distinctions is his contribution to the novel The Marriage Plot by the Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides, in which the main character researches cell division and developmental fate (inspired by one of Amar’s papers from the 1980s).

Claude Klee (died on April 3, 2017, at 85) was a pioneer in the biochemistry of calcium-binding proteins and calcium-dependent signaling. Although retired for more than a decade, she remained an active mentor and advisor at the NIH in NCI until her death. She discovered and extensively studied calmodulin, a calcium-binding protein of central importance to a wide spectrum of calcium-dependent functions, and she also discovered and characterized calcineurin, a calcium-regulated protein phosphatase that has become a primary target of immunosuppressive therapies to prevent transplant rejection.

Lois Whidden Kochanski (died on January 12, 2017, at 93) began a 35-year career in 1970 at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) and served for many years as its executive director until 2005. FAES runs graduate education and cultural programs funded privately for the NIH community.

Irwin Kopin (died on August 1, 2017, at 88), scientist emeritus and retired scientific director in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), was a giant in catecholamine research at the NIH. His groundbreaking work on the characteristics and metabolism of catecholamines—a class of chemicals that includes adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine—provided the backbone for major advances in neurological and psychiatric disorders and helped bring the NIH international distinction in the 1960s. He led the National Institute of Mental Health’s Laboratory of Clinical Science during the early, exhilarating days of neuropsychopharmacology side by side with such luminaries as Julius Axelrod and Seymour Kety. A scientist emeritus since his retirement in 1999, Kopin was an active participant in NINDS’s Clinical Neurocardiology Section until just before his death.

Catherine D. Lewis (died on July 12, 2017, at ??) joined NIH in 1983 as a staff fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, where she studied chromatin structure and the regulation of beta-globin gene expression during development. In 1989, she moved to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) as a program director and later became the director of the NIGMS Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics. She retired in January 2017.

Patricia Anne Martone (died on May 24, 2017, at 66) retired from the NIH as an administrative lab manager.

Charles McIntosh (died on May 20, 2017, at 79) was a cardiac surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service, spending 20 years at the NIH and attaining the rank of captain. He invented—and held several patents for—implantable heart valves and was a consultant and subsequent chairman to the FDA Implantable Cardiovascular Devices Panel.

Dennis L. Murphy (died on September 23, 2017, at 80), former chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Laboratory of Clinical Science, was known for his research exploring the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders using molecular, neurochemical, and genetic techniques. His life’s work primarily targeted obsessive-compulsive disorder, the serotonin neurotransmitter system, and the serotonin transporter. He joined NIMH as a clinical fellow in 1966 and became chief of the Clinical Neuropharmacology Branch in 1977, which was incorporated within the Laboratory of Clinical Science in 1983. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Garrick, who is chief of the Communications and Public Liaison Branch and Deputy Communications Director at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Herbert Needleman (died on July 18, 2017, at 89) was a physician–scientist who published groundbreaking research on lead toxicity in children. A long-time National Institute of Environmental Sciences grantee and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Needleman started his research at a time when many people were not paying attention to how substances in their surroundings could affect their lives. He had the ingenious idea to measure lead in children’s baby teeth after they had fallen out because bone biopsies were out of the question. He and his collaborators found that inner-city children had five times as much lead in their teeth as their suburban counterparts did. Further work determined that children with higher lead concentrations had lower IQ scores as well as behavioral issues. His findings, in part, led the U.S. government to ban lead from gasoline, a law that is credited with drastically reducing blood lead concentrations in American children.

Edward H. Oldfield (died on September 1, 2017, at 69) was a highly creative and productive neuroscientist and neurosurgeon, leading research programs that changed the modern surgical treatment of patients with pituitary tumors in Cushing disease, with brain and spinal cord tumors in von Hippel–Lindau disease, and with spinal arteriovenous malformations. He came to NIH in 1981 as a senior staff fellow, eventually becoming chief of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Surgical Neurology Branch (1986–2007). Among his many research accomplishments, Oldfield developed a new drug-delivery technique, called convection-enhanced delivery, for treatment of central-nervous system diseases including brain tumors, Parkinson disease, and lysosomal storage diseases. His laboratory also developed gene therapy for malignant brain tumors. He retired from full-time government service in 2007 to join the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Charlottesville, Virginia) but continued to visit the NIH once or twice per month as a clinical collaborator.

Carrie Parker (died on September 22, 2017, at 89), a beloved mail clerk in Building One, retired in 2016 with over 40 years of federal service.

Jean (Anderson) Raabe (died on January 30, 2017, at 85) was an early volunteer and passionate supporter of The Children’s Inn at NIH.

Stanley Reginald “Reggie” Repass (died on May 22, 2017, at 66), known as Pockets the Clown for many years, often volunteered at the Children’s Inn at NIH. Reggie’s greatest passion in life was making a child smile.

Mary Margaret Herman Rubinstein (died on June 9, 2017, at 81) was a neuropathology researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 1991 to 2013. She was a leader in advocating for the necessity of using human brain material for the study of psychiatric disorders. She worked hard to successfully expand the NIMH brain collection, a forerunner of today’s Human Brain Core Collection. She also provided neuropathology expertise to many ongoing projects at the NIMH and National Cancer Institute.

Emma Shelton (died on March 29, 2017, at 96) was among the first female scientific leaders at the NIH, arriving first as a cytology technician in 1942. In 1949 she received her Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) and became a resident biologist at the National Cancer Institute soon after that. She was one of the first women to head her own lab and conducted path-breaking research into the causes of cancer. She worked on the fine structure of ribosomes, enzymes, and immunoglobulins as well as electron microscopy of cell interactions in the immune response. Upon her retirement in 1978, she was awarded the Public Health Service’s Superior Service Award “for fundamental contributions to an understanding of biological organization at both the cellular and molecular levels.”

Jane E. Shure (died on April 8, 2017, at 71) was the founding communications director at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). She began her career at NIH in 1967 as an information intern, subsequently worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as a public information specialist, and served as director of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Office of Public Affairs. After NIA was formed in 1974, she became the first director of its Office of Communications and Public Liaison. She won numerous awards—including an Emmy—for her promotional campaigns.

Julius Youngner (died on April 27, 2017, at 96) was a world-renowned virologist best known for his contributions to the development of the first effective polio vaccine. He was the last surviving member of a research team assembled by Jonas Salk. In the 1940s, Youngner was drafted into the Army and selected to work on the Manhattan Project, studying the effects of uranium salts on human tissue. He was serving in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps at the National Cancer Institute when he was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 1949 to join Jonas Salk in the quest for an effective polio vaccine.