March 5, 2010

Mundy remembered for his science, enthusiasm

Mundy remembered for his science, enthusiasm

Gregory R. Mundy, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Center in Bone Biology, died Feb. 25 after an extended illness.

Dr. Mundy — also the John A. Oates Chair in Translational Medicine and professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Orthopaedics and Cancer Biology — came to Vanderbilt in 2006 to establish the center, which focused on understanding the major diseases of the bone, such as osteoporosis, cancer metastasis and fracture repair, and on identifying new drugs to treat them.

Gregory R. Mundy, M.D.

Gregory R. Mundy, M.D.

A native of Australia, Dr. Mundy's interest in bone biology began during his days as a medical resident at the University of Tasmania, where he cared for patients with myeloma, a type of cancer that destroys bone.

Dr. Mundy came to Vanderbilt from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, where he was professor of Cellular and Structural Biology, assistant dean for Clinical Research, principal investigator of the Frederic C. Bartter Clinical Research Unit and interim director of the San Antonio Cancer Institute.

Most recently, Dr. Mundy's research interests centered on understanding why breast cancer and prostate cancer have an affinity for spreading to bone and on discovering drugs to restore bone lost as a result of osteoporosis.

Dr. Mundy published more than 540 original articles, reviews and book chapters, and trained more than 150 post-doctoral fellows in bone and mineral metabolism.

He also had 34 issued patents and founded four biotechnology startup companies.

“Not only was Greg a superb scientist, but he was so much fun to interact with. He had an enthusiasm and vision that was contagious,” said Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., professor and chair of Cancer Biology. “We will miss him terribly, but I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to consider him a colleague, collaborator and friend.”

Over his career, Dr. Mundy received multiple awards, including: the Fuller Albright Award of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR); a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award; the William F. Neuman Award of the ASBMR; the University of Texas Presidential Distinguished Scholars Award; and the Pieter Gaillard Founders Award from the IBMS — a lifetime achievement award which recognizes outstanding contributions, research, leadership and dedication to the Society and the field of bone and mineral research.

His many leadership roles include terms as president of the ASBMR and of the International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS).
He was also one of the three founders of the Cancer and Bone Society.

“During his relatively short tenure at Vanderbilt, he made extraordinary contributions in discovery and education, while also becoming a beloved colleague,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “He will be fondly remembered by his many new friends at Vanderbilt, and a lifetime of colleagues around the globe.”

Dr. Mundy is survived by his wife of 47 years, Helen, his children, Gavin, Ben and Jennifer, and his sister, Jan Tarrant.

A memorial service honoring Dr. Mundy will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9, in Benton Chapel on the Vanderbilt campus. A reception will follow in the Tillett Lounge.