Death of Dr. Lash: Noted Embryologist
Dr. James W. Lash, Professor Emeritus of cell and developmental biology, died on January 11 at the age of 70 in Woodstock, Vermont. He had a long and distinguished career in fundamental research at the Medical Center. His research focused on cell and tissue interactions during early embryonic development and the role of morphoregulatory molecules during morphogenesis. His special emphasis was on avian somite formation, i.e., the morphogenetic processes that result in the segmentation of the vertebrate embryo. He published six books, and over 90 original articles, chapters, reviews and films on his research, and was supported in this endeavor by 40 years of grant awards from the NIH. He served on the editorial boards of four eminent journals devoted to Embryology.
Dr. Lash earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago. He first came to Penn in 1955 as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Public Health Service. He joined the Penn faculty in 1957 as an instructor in anatomy and rose through the ranks, attaining full professorship in 1969. He was awarded numerous fellowships and other research awards, including two prestigious Helen Hay Whitney Foundation awards, that took him to England and Finland, where he worked with Professor L. Saxen, to the Netherlands, and to the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He spent many summers at the MBL doing research and teaching the embryology of marine organisms and was elected a Trustee and Executive Trustee of the MBL. He also had a long and fruitful relationship with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, serving on its Board of Scientific Counselors and various research committees and as a consultant. The Institute honored his work by bestowing on him its Special Achievement Award.
Dr. Lash won the Louis R. Dinon Award for Teaching and in 1982 the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. His congeniality and unfailing consideration for others made him unusually effective both with students and colleagues. He treasured most a note from a student, thanking him for his insight and instruction in her embryology tutorial saying, "I had thought that I was completely desensitized from further impressions in science, embryology however shook everything up. In preparing for our discussions, I was like a child at Christmas with each facet of development another present. Many a night I sat wide-eyed and amazed pondering the miracle of life. To be able to experience the joy of gaining new knowledge was fantastic and, as a result, I am permanently indebted to you."
Professional ethics and standards were among Dr. Lash's continuing interests. He served on and chaired the Penn School of Medicine Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and on many other committees and councils involving student standards, training programs, affirmative action, appointments and promotions, and curricular revision. He served as acting chair of the Department of Anatomy in 1987, Vice Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (formerly Anatomy) in 1992-1993, and Interim Chair in 1993-1994.
Dr. Lash retired to Woodstock, Vermont in 1995 to pursue his love of birds and nature, and to write and spend more time on his accomplished avocation of painting. His watercolors were often exhibited at the Faculty Club. On his retirement, his colleagues and former students dedicated a chair in his honor in Lillie Auditorium at the MBL.
Dr. Lash is survived by his wife, Natalie, a daughter, Rebecca of Woods Hole, MA, and two brothers, Joseph and John of Chester, Vermont. A memorial service in the School of Medicine is planned for early spring.
Mr. Danforth Campbell, an employee of the New Bolton Center, died on December 30 at the age of 55. Mr. Campbell came to Penn in 1969 as a groom and became a farmworker in 1985 in which capacity he worked until his death. His duties included the care of various carriage horse teams driven by Dean Mark Allam and more recently by Associate Dean and Hospital Director Bruce Rapporport.
Mr. Campbell received the first "Employee of the Month" recognition award given by the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1989.
Mr. Campbell is survived by a sister, Karen C. Hauslein.
At presstime Almanac learned of the death of Dr. Joseph L. Hollander, emeritus professor of rheumatology and Nobel Prize nominee, on January 7, at the age of 89. An obituary will be published next week.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 17, January 18, 2000