Obituaries 2019

IN 2018 (NOT INCLUDED LAST YEAR)

Lewis L. Judd (died on December 16, 2018, at 88) was a nationally known psychiatrist who helped turn the focus of his profession from psychoanalysis to neuroscience, an approach that sought to destigmatize mental illness by treating it like cancer, heart disease, or any other medical problem. As director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)—a post he held from 1988 to 1990, during a hiatus from his decades-long chairmanship of the psychiatry department at the University of California at San Diego—he helped launch a federal research initiative known as the “Decade of the Brain.” During his tenure at NIMH, scientists for the first time successfully grew brain tissue in a laboratory.

Ting‐Kai (T.K.) Li (died on November 18, 2018, at 84) was the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) from 2002 to 2008. He was a staunch advocate within the NIH and with the U.S. Congress for advancing alcohol research, both clinical and basic science. He strongly advocated for international collaborations and for programs to develop young scientists.

Peter Roller (died on August 2, 2018) was a research scientist and principal investigator at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research for almost 35 years. He joined the NIH as a staff fellow in 1972 and retired as a PI from what was then NCI-CCR’s Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry in January 2007.


IN 2019

Wayne Bardin (died on October 10, 2019, at 85), considered a pioneer in endocrinology, was a researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 1964 to 1970, when he was recruited to become chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Penn State University (State College, Pennsylvania). He developed Norplant, an intradermal implant for contraception in women that would provide effective prevention of fertility over a period of three to five years, as well as other contraceptives.

Mary Bochanis (died March 7, 2019, at 94) was one of the longest-serving volunteers at the Children’s Inn at NIH. She was a volunteer at the inn when it opened in 1990 and served there in weekly shifts for 28 years. She was also the longest-tenured volunteer with the American Red Cross, serving for more than 74 years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Gahan Breithaupt (died on August 31, 2019, at 64) joined the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in 2004 after serving as acting executive officer and chief information officer for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Before NIH, he spent more than two decades holding various leadership positions at the Internal Revenue Service.

Stephan D. Brenowitz (died on May 31, 2019, at 51), at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2007–2014), investigated the cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying fusiform cell responses to sounds and how these responses could be influenced by somatosensory stimuli. He combined in vivo recordings with brain-slice electrophysiology and cellular-imaging techniques. He left the NIH for a position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus (Ashburn, Virginia) and then the University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland).

Belia “Bel” Ceja (died July 4, 2019, at 94) was a special assistant to three NIH directors and retired in September 1985 after more than 29 years of federal service. She was special assistant to NIH directors Robert S. Stone, Donald S. Fredrickson, and James B. Wyngaarden, and later a special assistant to the director of the National Library of Medicine.

Philip A. Corfman (died on February 18, 2019, at 92) was the first director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Center for Population Research, which was established in 1968 to coordinate and conduct research and training in population health, including research on contraception. An obstetrician-gynecologist, he spent 20 years at NICHD before leaving for a role at the World Health Organization and later, the FDA. During his time at NICHD, Corfman oversaw large research programs on contraception and behavioral sci­ences. He stressed the need for the development of family-planning methods for both men and women, as well as for research on the contraceptive needs of teenagers and effects of teen pregnancies. In 1970, he testified before a Senate committee on the health effects and safety of the birth-control pill. During the hearings, experts publicly noted the negative side effects of the pill, including a higher cancer risk, which caused interruptions from women protesters in the audience. Corfman is remembered as the only person who paused his testimony to address their concerns. In 1982, he was named by Ms. magazine as one of 40 heroes, specifically for “his sensitive response to feminist health activists and his efforts to change the direction of birth-control research so that male methods were included and safe methods for women were emphasized.”

John Fakunding (died on February 21, 2019, at 73) was the former director of the Heart Research Program in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. His first NIH position was in the intramural program lab of Kevin Catt at NICHD. Fakunding retired in 2005, at age 60. In retirement he taught physiology and chemistry at two universities in South Carolina.

Nicolaas (Nic) Fourie (died on February 23, 2019, at 38), a researcher in the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), came to the program as a visiting fellow in 2012, worked as a research fellow from 2013 to 2017, and remained a special volunteer until his unexpected passing. He was a founding inventor on two patents during his time in NINR’s Digestive Disorders Unit. He discovered microRNA signatures in digestive and liver disorders and significantly contributed to a novel “nucleic acid detection on paper” method for detecting pathogens in resource-limited settings with the potential to save many lives around the world.

Michael M. Frank (died on August 1, 2019, at 82) was a past clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) during the tumultuous early years of the AIDS epidemic. He joined NIH in 1966, initially taking medical care of patients with schizophrenia. After his Public Health Service obligation in NICHD, he became section chief and ultimately chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Immunology in 1968 and then the NIAID clinical director in 1977. His work led to the first effective treatment for hereditary angioedema. After 24 years at the NIH, he became chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (1990–2004). He returned to the laboratory and in 2009 received a multiyear grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to continue his research into the mechanisms of the immune response in patients with HIV-1.

Fred A. Gill (died on October 12, 2019, at 83) was chief of the Internal Medicine Consultation Service for the NIH Clinical Center from 1998 until retiring in 2016. He had a productive career as a private-practice physician before that. He also served on the NIH Clinical Center’s Ethics and Clinical Pastoral Education committees and was an investigator on numerous research protocols.

Joyce Goldstein (died on August 7, 2019, at 78) conducted groundbreaking research in pharmacogenetics as head of the Human Metabolism Group in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). In 1991, her laboratory was the first to clone and identify two members of a subfamily of human cytochrome P450 genes; P450 enzymes account for 70 percent to 80 percent of enzymes involved in drug metabolism. Her discovery helped lay the foundation for personalized medicine by providing a clearer understanding of how genetic variations can result in adverse reactions to certain drugs. She joined NIEHS in 1977 and retired in 2015 as an emeritus faculty member.

Philip Gurnev (died in August 2019, at 41) had been a staff scientist in the NICHD Section on Molecular Transport since 2015. He made significant contributions to the field of ion-channel biophysics in the lab of Sergey Bezrukov. Gurnev was a postdoctoral trainee and then a research fellow at NICHD (2004–2012) and then a research fellow at the Physics Department of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts (2012–2015).

Waun Ki Hong (died on January 2, 2019, at 76) helped change the standard of care for head and neck cancer (showing that chemotherapy and radiotherapy was an effective alternative to laryngectomy for cancer of the larynx). His work also helped establish the concept of chemoprevention. He served on major science and policy committees for the U.S. FDA, NCI, and the President’s Cancer Panel. He was a cancer researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (1984–2014).

Kurt Isselbacher (died on July 18, 2019, at 93), the great teacher and practitioner of gastroenterology, spent nearly his entire career in Boston at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. His connection to the NIH dates back to his time as a clinical associate in the 1950s and then sabbaticals and visits in later decades. He worked closely with George Khoury (NCI) and Tony Fauci (NIAID), among others.

William B. (Bill) Jakoby (died in late August 2019 at the age of 90), former chief of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ (NIDDK’s) Laboratory of Biochemistry and Metabolism, had a long and successful research career at the NIH and was a seminal figure in enzymology. He also played a significant role in the development of the NIH intramural research program and its tenure-track system. He came to the NIH in 1955 first at the then–National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases. He was chief of NIDDK’s Laboratory of Biochemistry and Metabolism (1985–1999). He retired in 1999 and became a scientist emeritus. He played an important role in developing the enzyme nomenclature we use today, and he made major contributions to the characterization of the enzymes of detoxification. He is perhaps best known as editor of the influential Methods in Enzymology series for Academic Press. He was also long-term editor of the journal Analytical Biochemistry.

Edward Kelty (died on September 27, 2019, at 89) was a psychologist at NIMH from 1968 to 1994.

Steven H. Krosnick (died on April 1, 2019, at 57) was the director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering’s (NIBIB’s) program in image-guided interventions and head of the NIBIB Portfolio Evaluation Office. During a 20-year career as an NIH medical officer, Krosnick’s other positions included program director in NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis and scientific review administrator in the Center for Scientific Review.

Andrew Lee (died on April 21, 2019, at 23) was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer, with no known cure, after his freshman year of college. Determined to fight the terminal disease and contribute to research, Lee participated in seven NIH-led clinical trials. Soon after his diagnosis, Lee’s father bought him his dream car, a Nissan GT-R, which he turned into a fundraising vehicle. In 2016, Lee founded the nonprofit Driven to Cure to raise awareness and research dollars for rare kidney cancer. He took his customized GT-R to auto shows in-between cancer treatments, raising more than $400,000 for the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH) to fund kidney-cancer studies at the NIH Clinical Center. Lee received several awards from FNIH for his unwavering commitment to biomedical research. In addition to his fundraising efforts, Lee also donated his kidney and tissues to NIH to further research efforts.

Donald A.B. Lindberg (died on August 16, 2019, at 86) was a pioneer in medical informatics and director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) from 1984 to 2015. During his tenure, NLM created PubMed, MedlinePlus.gov, ClinicalTrials.gov, and many other online repositories of scientific information. All the while, Lindberg helped the NLM grow into the world’s largest biomedical library with a vast digital and physical collection of books, images, maps, and more numbering in the millions.

Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad (died in September 2019) was director of the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA’s) Division of Neuroscience for 14 years (1997–2011) before retiring in 2011. In the 1970s, she was one of the first researchers to isolate and study the properties of globin messenger RNAs in red blood cells. At NIH, she directed NIA’s Alzheimer disease research infrastructure network and extramural funding of Alzheimer’s and normal cognitive aging research programs. She continued to conduct research by setting up a small lab at NIA.

Carole Kemm Regan (died on January 7, 2019, at 72) was a former laboratory manager of NCI’s Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology. She joined the NCI more than 40 years ago. When she retired in 2017 to spend more time with her grandchildren, she was then the longest-serving member of the lab.

John Robbins (died on November 27, 2019, at 86) was a retired NIH scientist and codeveloper of the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. This Hib vaccine spared millions of young children from early death, deafness, and neurological impairment. John was an astute physician-scientist with a long and storied career at NICHD, where he was chief of the Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Immunity. He arrived at the NIH in 1970 as the first clinical director for NICHD. From 1974 to 1984 he was the director of the Division of Bacterial Products in the FDA Bureau of Biologics, then part of the NIH Bethesda campus in Building 29. He returned to NICHD in 1984 and stayed until his retirement in 2012.

Saul Rosen (died on February 28, 2019, at 90) whose 35-year career was spent entirely at NIH, was named deputy director of the Clinical Center in 1984, became acting Clinical Center director in 1990, and remained there until his retirement in 1994. He came to NIH in 1958 and spent two years as a clinical associate in what was then the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, then studied for a year on sabbatical in London. He returned to NIH in 1961, becoming a senior investigator in the Clinical Endocrinology Branch, before being named the Clinical Center deputy director in 1984. His research during those years involved the inappropriate production of hormones by tumors and the body’s production of placental proteins in general. Rosen was proud of his clinical white coat, which was festooned with patches from different Clinical Center departments. He oversaw a period at the Clinical Center that included the AIDS epidemic, advances in gene therapy and early immunotherapy, and the initial planning for what would become the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

Leon Sokoloff (died on March 22, 2019, at 99) who was professor emeritus of pathology at the University of New York at Stony Brook (Stony Brook, New York) spent two decades at the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases. He was chief of the Section on Rheumatic Diseases in the Laboratory of Experimental Pathology (1953–1973) and specialized in the pathological investigation of human and experimental arthritis, with particular emphasis on rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative joint disease.

Melvin Spann (died on May 7, 2019) was the first African American appointed associate director of NLM. After his retirement in 1999, he continued to serve as a consultant to NLM outreach programs. Before his arrival at NLM in 1976, he spent 10 years with the FDA, first as a chemical information specialist and then as chief of FDA’s Scientific Information Systems Design Branch. He was recruited by NLM to manage the CHEMLINE file and, in 1978, was appointed head of the NLM Specialized Information Services Biomedical Information Services Branch, where he was responsible for managing a variety of information products and services concerning toxic substances and their effects on health. He was appointed Deputy Associate Director for Specialized Information Services and, in 1995, was appointed Associate Director. Beyond his oversight of NLM’s toxicology and environmental health services, Spann’s concern for environmental justice led him to create the Toxicology Information Outreach Project (TIOP) to strengthen the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to train medical and other health professionals in the use of toxicological, environmental, occupational, and hazardous waste information resources. TIOP, now the Environmental Health Information Partnership, is NLM’s longest sustained outreach program.

Nadarajen “Nada” Vydelingum (died on August 28, 2019) was a cell biologist, educator, researcher (in the cancer biomarkers research group, 2012–2016), and health administrator at NIH from 1991 to 2016, when he retired from NCI.

Huber Warner (died on September 12, 2019, at 83), a biochemist and associate director of NIA’s Biology of Aging Program, joined NIA in 1984. He played a large part in expanding the scope and scale of aging research at NIA while helping to mentor a new generation of scientists. His research interests included oxidative stress, molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, functional genomics, and stem cells. Before coming to NIH, he was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Minnesota); he returned there in 2004 to serve as associate dean of research until his retirement in 2010.

Elizabeth Weisburger (died on February 12, 2019, at 94) was a former assistant director for chemical carcinogenesis in NCI’s Division of Cancer Etiology and a leading chemist at NCI, specializing in chemical carcinogenesis. She made seminal contributions to the understanding of carcinogenesis and also identified the carcinogenicity and metabolism of nitrosamines, aromatic amines, halogenated hydrocarbons, fumigants, and food preservatives, as well as the dangers of chemotherapy drugs. She came to the NIH as a postdoc in NCI in 1949, joined by her husband at that time, John. The two worked closely together through the 1950s and 1960s until John’s departure from NCI in 1972. Elizabeth Weisburger remained at the NIH until her retirement in 1988.

James B. Wyngaarden (died on June 14, 2019, at 94), an internationally recognized authority on the regulation of purine biosynthesis and the genetics of gout, was NIH director from April 1982 through July 1989. Immediately before his NIH appointment, he had been professor and chairman of the department of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina (1967–1982). It was at Duke that he and his colleagues discovered that too much uric acid in the blood, a condition called hyperuricemia, can lead to gout. That discovery paved the way for the development of successful treatment of gout. Among the major challenges that he tackled during his tenure as NIH director were the nation’s biomedical-research response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic and the emergence of recombinant DNA and other ethically charged biotechnologies. He also initiated NIH’s leadership role in the international Human Genome Project, which was met with skepticism in the scientific community but clearly proved to be the correct decision. He was instrumental in setting up the Children’s Inn at NIH, which provides lodging and support for families of children receiving treatment at the Clinical Center. He was also a strong advocate for the importance of physician–scientists in biomedical research.

Yoshi Yamada (died December 16, 2019, at 76) was a senior scientist in the Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). In 1978, he joined NCI to study gene evolution and regulation of collagen genes. In 1983, he joined NIDCR, where he studied the functions of basement membrane components, cartilage matrices, and other extracellular matrices during development and diseases. In 2011, he and others at NIH received an award from the Japanese Embassy in recognition of NIH’s support of the Japanese research community after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.


CREDIT FOR THUMBNAIL IMAGE: TATI EGUIA/THINKSTOCK.COM