Worm Breeder's Gazette 14(1): 5 (October 1, 1995)
These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.
|1||Biology Dept., John Carroll University, University Heights, OH 44118|
|2||Biology Dept., Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244- 1270|
Kevin Van Doren, assistant professor of Biology at Syracuse University, died on July 15, 1995 while camping with his family in Adirondack Park. During a severe storm, a tree was uprooted and fell onto their tent, killing Kevin instantly. His wife Jean suffered a broken arm, broken pelvis, and internal injuries but is recovering well. Their two young daughters, Corie and Meredith, were uninjured. (Jean Van Doren can be contacted at 926 Westmoreland Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Kevin received his Bachelor's degree in Biology, with a concentration in Marine Biology, from Southeastern Massachusetts University in 1977. He had planned to pursue a career in marine biology but there were few graduate programs open to him at that time. As a result, Kevin worked outside of science for two years before accepting a technician position in 1979 at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology working with Bill Crain on actin gene expression in sea urchin embryos. In 1980 he entered a Ph.D. program in the Department of Biochemistry at SUNY- Stony Brook and carried out his thesis research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Under the direction of Joseph Sambrook and Yakov Gluzman, Kevin worked on developing adenovirus as a mammalian cloning vector and completed his Ph.D. in 1985. He then entered the C. elegans community by taking a post-doctoral position with David Hirsh at Synergen, Inc. in Boulder. During most of his four years in Boulder, Kevin studied the newly discovered phenomenon of trans-splicing. He contributed to several significant discoveries about the nature of trans-splicing including the existence of SL RNA as a snRNP particle with novel functions. In 1989, Kevin joined the faculty of Syracuse University where he continued working on pre-mRNA processing in general and trans-splicing in particular using a variety of approaches. Recently, he made eager use of data from the C. elegans genome and cDNA sequencing projects to pursue genes identified as putative homologs of RNA splicing factors in other organisms. One of these genes, a homolog of the Drosophila suppressor of white-apricot gene, led Kevin to a productive collaboration with Paul Bingham (SUNY- Stony Brook) in which they identified a novel conserved motif in this proposed splicing factor. Kevin also was taking a reverse genetic approach to splicing in C. elegans and had collaborated with the Plasterk and Kohara labs to screen their TC1 banks to find insertions within other putative splicing homologs. Kevin was an enthusiastic teacher. Among his efforts were the development of an ambitious molecular biology lab course for undergraduates and graduate students and participation in the Freshman Forum, a new course designed to introduce students to college life and allow them to get to know a faculty member as a potential mentor and friend. Kevin drew particular pleasure from mentoring undergraduate students in his research lab. In recognition of his strong support of undergraduate teaching and research, the Syracuse University Biology Department plans to name a lounge for undergraduate biology majors in his memory. Kevin's first loves in life were his family and the outdoors. He was a devoted husband and very loving father who liked nothing better than hiking, camping, or skiing with his family. His other interests included fly-fishing, biking, wood-working, and cooking, to name a few. He was active in his church and coached his daughters' soccer team. Those of us fortunate to have known Kevin will remember him as a vibrant, outgoing, warm, and funny man who was a wonderful friend and colleague.