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  • Thu, November 04, 2021 7:49 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    William Joseph Cooke, PhD

    Dr. William J. Cooke died November 4, 2021 after a hard fought battle against cancer. Born in Newark, NJ to William J. and Margaret Eileen Cooke, September 15, 1940. Bill was predeceased by his parents, brother Gregory and sister Dorothy

    He graduated from Siena College in Loudonville, NY with a degree in Biology, a Masters of Science degree from The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, and a PhD in Pharmacology from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. He did post-doctoral research at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH before receiving a position in the Pharmacology Department at The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA.

    Bill and Linda moved to Virginia Beach in 1977 for him to begin a 35 year career at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, where he became chairman of the Pharmacology Department, and Associate Dean for Research. He was an active member of the Bayside Lion’s Club for many years serving as president for 2 terms.

    Bill loved working with wood and would spend many satisfying hours in his backyard workshop building beautiful furniture. He always wanted to build a boat and when he completed the wooden sea kayak, he realized the greatest joy was not the paddling but the project itself. Bill loved a good joke but the man could never retell the same joke without saying “what was it again?” He had an infectious laugh and everyone who met him, loved him.

  • Thu, July 01, 2021 8:50 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Joseph M. Moerschbaecher, III, PhD

    Joseph M. Moerschbaecher, III, PhD, who had recently retired as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, passed away July 1, 2021, from complications of esophageal cancer.

    The son of the late Geraldine (Stack) Moerschbaecher and Joseph M. Moerschbaecher Jr., Joe was born February 12, 1949, in South Bend, Indiana.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. While still in school, Joe was a research associate in behavioral pharmacology at Abbott Laboratories. He received a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the American University in Washington, DC, and then worked as a research associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. After Joe completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, he joined the faculty as a research assistant professor. LSU Health Sciences Center recruited him, and he joined its faculty as an assistant professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics in 1983.

    His remarkable nearly four-decade career at LSU Health Sciences Center was filled with visionary leadership and accomplishment. He rose through the ranks as an associate and full professor to lead the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and in 1991, he was also appointed Co-Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence, which he helped found. In 1998, Joe was appointed Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. He led Academic Affairs and the graduate school on both the New Orleans and Shreveport campuses as Shreveport was under LSU Health New Orleans’ administration at that time.

    Joe was extensively published in peer-reviewed journals. He also wrote numerous chapters in textbooks. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded him millions of dollars in research grant funding throughout his career. He was an award-winning teacher, continuous NIH study section participant, and a member of almost 40 different LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans committees. Joe also played a key role in founding the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.  He served on the boards of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, as well as the Chair of the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund Planning Committee. Joe served in multiple capacities for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and from 2010-2012, was the President of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society.

  • Sun, June 30, 2019 8:44 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Joel Griffeth Hardman, PhD

    HOOKSICK FALLS, N.Y. – Joel Griffeth Hardman, Ph.D., an internationally recognized scientist and educator died June 30, 2019 in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. after a long illness. He was 85 years old.

    Joel G. Hardman was born in Colbert, Ga. on Nov. 7, 1933 to Joel Carlton Hardman and Ruby Griffeth Hardman. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1954, and worked as a pharmacist in Athens, Ga. from 1954 to 1960. Joel earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Emory University in 1964. He married the love of his life, Georgette Johnson, in 1955.

    Joel began his career at Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1964, doing post-doctoral work with Earl Sutherland, MD, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1971. He became full professor in 1972, chairman of pharmacology in 1974, and associate vice-chancellor for health affairs 1990. He was a gifted educator who nurtured the careers of numerous students and young faculty members. Joel served with Dr. Lee Limbird as co-editor-in-chief of the standard reference work in pharmacology, Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, for much of the 1990s. He also served as president of the American Society for Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASPET) in 1993-1994. In recognition of Joel’s sustained interest in the training of young scientists, the annual Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum was established in 1998.

    In addition to his professional accomplishments, Joel pursued a wide range of interests, including bluegrass music, world travel, spy novels, and history. Once an interest was sparked he would plunge into the area whole-heartedly and learn as much as he could about it. He could explain the logic behind the Cold War, the steps in a magic trick, the difference between a lager and porter with as much passion and expertise and he explained hormones’ effects on cellular processes. When he and Georgette moved to rural Williamson County Tennessee in 1983, he cultivated his garden-growing and wood-chopping skills, supplying family and friends with vegetables and firewood throughout the year. With their move to Lovell in 2002, Joel continued to chop down trees and grow garlic, adding snow shoveling and carpentry to his long list of talents. He became active in community service in Lovell, contributing time and expertise to the school board, the historical society, The Brick Church for the Performing Arts, and the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library. Joel spent a life time exploring the world, from the microscopic to the astronomic, and his family, friends, colleagues, and many dogs joined him with much joy and love.

    Joel is survived by his wife, Georgette Hardman, of Shushan, N.Y.; children, Pam Hardman of Bellingham, Wash., Fran Goldstone (Jeff) of Cambridge, N.Y., Mary George Hardman of Troy, N.Y., Joel Hardman (Laurie Puchner) of Edwardsville, Ill.; grandchildren, Jacob Goldstone, Gregory Goldstone, Luke Puchner-Hardman, Maggie Puchner-Hardman, Emelissa Vandenbosch, Alice Hardman.

  • Mon, June 10, 2019 8:51 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Louis S. Harris, PhD

    Louis S. Harris, Ph.D., who served on the faculty of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine for 44 years, died on June 10, 2019.

    During his tenure, Harris helped lead the rise of the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology into national prominence. He served as department chair for two decades and also served as associate vice president for health sciences at VCU, and oversaw National Institutes of Health grants focused on research in drug abuse from the earliest days of his time at VCU.

    A man of science, he had nearly 300 journal publications to his credit, and his findings have shaped our understanding of opioid and cannabinoid pharmacology as well as pain management. Dr. Harris leaves a proud legacy of national prominence in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, where it has been most recently ranked 16th nationally in federal funding.  This ranking reflects VCU’s strengths in neurosciences and addictions, where we rank 11th in funding from the NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and 16th in funding from the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    Dr. Harris always espoused an inspirational vision, and his and his family’s generosity will be felt at VCU for generations through endowed funds that support programs, faculty and students on both campuses. When you look around you, you’ll see his long-lasting influence and his compassion for his community. A patron of the arts, he purchased many creative works from VCU Arts students that are displayed around campus for our inspiration and enjoyment.

    “First and foremost, Lou was an outstanding personal friend,” said Dr. Bill Dewey, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and longtime friend and colleague of Harris.  “He was also true friend’ to this university through his leadership in research, administration and philanthropy. He will be greatly missed.”

  • Fri, April 26, 2019 8:33 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Raymond W. Ruddon, MD, PhD, of Ann Arbor passed away on April 26, 2019. He was Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Ray was born to Raymond and Kathryn Ruddon on December 23, 1936 in Detroit. He received his B.S. from the University of Detroit in 1958, and Ph.D. in 1964 and M.D. in 1967 from the University of Michigan.

    He joined the U-M faculty as an instructor of pharmacology in 1964 and rose through the ranks to professor in 1974. From 1976 to 1981 Ray served on the staff of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, then returned to Michigan to chair the Department of Pharmacology. From 1986-90, he was associate director for basic science research at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. Ray served as director of the Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska from 1990-97, then was named corporate vice president for science and technology at Johnson & Johnson. He returned to Michigan again in 2004 as professor of pharmacology and senior associate dean for research and graduate studies in the Medical School. Ray authored more than 100 scientific papers and five books, including the widely used oncology text, Cancer Biology.

    Ray was also a poet and has self-published 4 volumes of poetry. At Ray’s side for 56 years was his loving wife Lynne Matthews Ruddon, who preceded him in death in 2017. The two met as graduate students and married in 1961. Ray and Lynne’s unwavering commitment to cancer research and improving human health led to the creation of the Raymond and Lynne Ruddon Collegiate Professorship in Cancer Biology and Pharmacology in 2017. Ray was an avid classical music lover, book collector and U of M Wolverines fan. He loved spending time at his summer cottage at Portage Lake, which was in his family since childhood.

    Ray is survived by his dear friend and loving companion Adella Blain and his three daughters: Kathryn Therese Ruddon and husband Matthew Moore, Jennifer Ruddon Kircher and husband Andrew Kircher, and Marjorie Ruddon Gurnik and husband Gordon Gurnik. He has five grandchildren: Lindsey Kircher, Kristen Kircher, Natalie Gurnik, Holly Gurnik, Annika Moore and Ian Moore, who all fondly called him “Hat.”

  • Sun, March 10, 2019 7:32 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Paul Talalay, MD

    Dr. Paul Talalay, a noted molecular pharmacologist who headed a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine research team that isolated a chemical found in broccoli that helped boost its cancer-fighting abilities, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at his Roland Park Place home. He was 95.

    Dr. Talalay, who was born in Berlin, Germany, to Soviet Jewish parents, was the son of Joseph Talalay, an engineer and inventor, and his wife, Sophie Brosterman Talalay, a homemaker. Shortly after the rise of Adolf Hitler, Dr. Talalay and his family fled Germany in 1933 using purchased Haitian passports, family members said, moved to Belgium, France and then England, and settled near London.

    He was a graduate of The Bedford School in Bedford, England, where while a student he learned to speak English. In 1940, he immigrated to New York with his family and later settled with them in New Haven, Conn. He was a 1944 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a degree in molecular biophysics. He began medical school at the University of Chicago, where he conducted research in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Charles B. Huggins, a prostate cancer researcher, which sparked his lifelong interest in cancer.

    Dr. Talalay left Chicago after two years and entered Yale University Medical School, from which he graduated in 1948, and for the next two years, was a house officer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He returned to the University of Chicago in 1950, “where his early work on the mechanism of cancer earned him a lifetime research grant from the American Cancer Society, at the time, the largest research grant the society had ever awarded to an individual,” his son, Antony “Tony” Talalay, of Lutherville, wrote in a biographical profile of his father. Three years later, he entered Cambridge University for postgraduate work, where while working in the laboratory, he met his future wife, the former Dr. Pamela Samuels, a biochemist, “and they bonded over their interest in protective enzymes,” his son wrote. They married in 1953.

    Dr. Talalay came to Baltimore from the University of Chicago in 1963, when he was appointed professor of pharmacology and chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which later became the laboratory for molecular pharmacology at Hopkins.

    It was in 1992 that Dr. Talalay and the team of his researchers that he headed isolated a chemical, sulforphane, that is found in broccoli and similar Brassica family of vegetables, which in addition to broccoli include cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage and kohlrabi, that can fight cancer.

  • Fri, March 01, 2019 12:45 PM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    There have been quite a few changes at the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs (AMSPC) this past year.

    1) First let me introduce myself as the incoming president. I am Kent Vrana, Chair of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania (Sweetest Place on Earth). In 2004, I succeeded Elliot Vesell the founding chair of the department and former president of this organization. Many thanks to Mike Frohman (Stony Brook University) for so ably leading the organization these past two years. Mike now will become immediate past president. I look forward to working with all the members of the organization and our constituencies these next two years.

    2) After many years of service as secretary, David Taylor (East Carolina University) has stepped down and Alvin Terry (Medical College of Georgia) has assumed that role.

    3) The remainder of the leadership team remains the same.

    Treasurer: David Busija (Tulane University)
    Councillors: Kathy Cunningham (University of Texas Medical Branch), Rick Neubig (Michigan State University) and Jill Siegfried (University of Minnesota)

    4) We will hold an election for a new slate of councilors in the coming months.

    5) We just completed a successful annual meeting in Kauai, Hawaii. A brief summary of the meeting will appear in the March 2019 issue of ASPET’s The Pharmacologist. Detailed minutes will be posted here on the AMSPC website in the coming weeks.

    6) Mark your calendars for the 2020 meeting (January 24-28, 2020) in Nassau, Bahamas at the British Colonial Hilton. We hope to see you there.

    7) A number of new initiatives in medical education are upcoming, so stay tuned.

  • Mon, February 25, 2019 6:37 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Gavril Pasternak, MD, PhD

    The Memorial Sloan Kettering community mourns the loss of Gavril Pasternak, MD, PhD, who dedicated his career as a physician and scientist to improving pain management for cancer patients. Educated at the Johns Hopkins University, he graduated from its MD-PhD program where he carried out seminal studies characterizing the first opioid receptor and contributed to the discovery of endogenous opioids. He joined the MSK faculty in 1979 and held appointments in both the Department of Neurology and the Sloan Kettering Institute. He was the incumbent of the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology. Gav’s research focused on defining and understanding novel targets of opioid action, including the development of new medications with fewer side effects. He published more than 400 papers. In addition to serving as a generous mentor, Gav was known for his love of lacrosse and for founding New York City’s first youth lacrosse league.

  • Tue, December 25, 2018 6:45 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    William C. Buss, PhD

    Will was a beloved colleague, research scholar, dedicated educator and compassionate mentor. Bill joined the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine in 1973, where he taught medical pharmacology and conducted research on the immunosuppressant effects of cyclosporine. Bill rose up through the ranks to professor and served as chair of the Pharmacology Department for 10 years.

    Even after his retirement from active participation in research in 1997, he continued his teaching commitments until just two months before his passing. His passion for sharing his knowledge of pharmacology will be remembered by the multitude of medical students who had the privilege of attending his lectures over his 45-year career.

    Bill’s life was also filled with the robust pursuit and enjoyment of his varied interests. In retirement, he rekindled his love of art and enjoyed working with pastels to capture the beauty of the Sandia Mountains. Bill’s work won regional and national recognition and was shown locally at the Matrix Fine Art Gallery in Albuquerque.

    Bill was a voracious reader and wanderer, traveling all over England, France, Greece, Italy, Nepal, Russia and Turkey. Bill was also a well-known oenophile, who freely shared his knowledge of wine and wine making. In collaboration with friends, Bill established Primrose Vineyards at his Corrales property, where he proudly shared his award-winning chardonnay wines with guests.

    While Bill had many passions in life, both the education of our medical students and protection of our wild spaces were very important to him. To honor his life, donations on his behalf can be sent to the School of Medicine White Coat Campaign or to the WildEarth Guardians.

  • Tue, December 18, 2018 6:38 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

    Attallah Kappas, MD, professor emeritus at The Rockefeller University and physician-in-chief emeritus at The Rockefeller University Hospital, died December 18, 2018 at the age of 92. Kappas was a leading authority in diseases related to liver function and metabolism and in the development of diagnostics and treatments for those conditions. Among the diseases that Kappas studied was porphyrias, a group of often-hereditary disorders that result when substances called porphyrins build up in the body. One of the best-known porphyrins is heme, a component of the oxygen-carrying molecule hemoglobin. Porphyrias most commonly affect the nervous system and the skin, depending on their subtype, and can be chronic or acute.

    One of Kappas’ most far-ranging and lasting contributions was in research uncovering the molecular mechanisms that instigate jaundice in newborn babies. Jaundice, which affects more than half of all babies to some degree, is caused by high levels of a bilirubin, a yellow pigment in the blood that is normally metabolized by the liver. If the condition goes untreated, it can cause irreversible damage to the central nervous system.

    Bilirubin forms naturally when heme breaks down. Kappas conducted extensive research on heme degradation and heme oxygenase, the enzyme that controls this process. Currently, neonatal jaundice is treated by exposing babies to intense light, which breaks down bilirubin, but the treatment can be time-consuming and may not be available in developing areas that lack electricity. To that end, Kappas worked on the development of a compound called tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP), which inhibits heme oxygenase. SnMP is now being investigated in clinical trials in the United States and a number of other countries. Kappas also studied how drugs are metabolized by the liver and conducted research on illnesses caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment, including lead poisoning.

    Kappas, who was the Sherman Fairchild Professor Emeritus, was born in Union City, New Jersey, in 1926. Drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, he went on to receive his A.B. from Columbia University in 1947 and his M.D. with honors from the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1950. He was an American Cancer Society Research Fellow at the Sloan Kettering Institute and later completed a residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, part of Harvard Medical School.

    After the completion of his medical training in 1957, he served 10 years on the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he was head of the section of metabolism and arthritis and also a Commonwealth Fund Fellow and visiting scientist at the Courtauld Institute of Biochemistry at Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London. He was a guest investigator and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow at Rockefeller in 1966, then joined the Rockefeller faculty the following year.

    Kappas was physician-in-chief of Rockefeller’s hospital from 1974 to 1991 and served as a Rockefeller vice president from 1983 to 1991. He also had affiliations with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and the Karolinska Institute.

    Kappas received a number of prestigious awards over the years, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Special Award in Clinical Pharmacology (1973), a Distinguished Service Award in Medical Science from the University of Chicago (1975), the ASPET Award for Distinguished Research in Experimental Therapeutics from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (1978), the American College of Physicians Award for Outstanding Contributions to Internal Medicine (1991), and the Professional Achievement Citation, also from the University of Chicago (1995). In 1989, he received the inaugural NIH Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

    Kappas is survived by his three sons, Nicholas Kappas, Peter Kappas, and Michael Kappas, and many grandchildren.

AMSPC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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