December 16, 2005

Year in review 2005: VUMC mourned losses

Featured Image

Ken Malloy, from Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department, checks out 4-year old Zaria McDonough’s car seat at a Safe Kids of Cumberland Valley car seat check.
photo by Carole Bartoo

Allan D. Bass, M.D., an outstanding administrator, scientist and educator, credited by many as being the architect for Vanderbilt's international reputation in pharmacology, died Jan. 14 at 94.

Dr. Bass, professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt for two decades, was known both as a strong leader and a caring man who, along with his wife, Sara, a 1940 graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing, took graduate students under their wings.

Following his tenure as chairman that began in 1953, he served the medical school for one year as associate dean for Biomedical Sciences from 1973-75 and was called upon to be acting dean during 1973-74, when he helped plan and raise funds for Rudolph A. Light Hall.

Irwin B. Eskind, M.D., a retired Nashville physician and philanthropist and a strong supporter of Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for more than a half century, died of complications of diabetes on March 28 at his home in Nashville. He was 80.

Through Dr. Eskind's generosity, the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library, which houses VUMC's information services and resources, opened in 1994, and the Vanderbilt-Eskind Diabetes Clinic, an integrated diabetes care service that will allow patients with diabetes to have all their care in one geographic location, will open this summer.

Dr. Eskind, clinical professor of Medicine, Emeritus at Vanderbilt, was a 1945 graduate of Vanderbilt University and a 1948 graduate of VUSM. He served a residency in Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital from 1948-1951, then completed his residency training at Vanderbilt in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. from 1951-1953, and was a fellow in Gastroenterology at the Lahey Clinic in Boston from 1953-1954.

J. Donald M. Gass, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Emeritus, and one of the world's most respected experts on diseases of the retina, macula and uvea, died at home on Feb. 26. He was 76.

In 1999, Dr. Gass, a 1950 graduate of Vanderbilt University and a 1957 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was named one of the 10 most influential ophthalmologists of the 20th century by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. The designation came from a poll of nearly 33,000 ophthalmologists around the world.

H. David Hall, D.M.D., M.D., died Feb. 24 in an accident at his vacation home in Sewanee. He was 73.

Dr. Hall, professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Emeritus, was chair of the department from 1968 until his retirement in 1996. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Hall established one of the most respected training programs in the country.

He started the University's first training program in oral and maxillofacial surgery and also established one of the first integrated dual training programs in the country, where individuals received a medical degree in conjunction with residency training in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Hall also conducted basic science and clinical research.

Waddell Walker Hancock, widow of A.B. "Bull" Hancock Jr. and founder of the A.B. Hancock Jr. Research Center at VUMC, died June 17 at her home in Paris, Ky. She was 90.

Mrs. Hancock married into the legacy of A.B. Hancock Jr., a third-generation breeder of thoroughbred horses at Claiborne Farm in Bourbon County, Ky.

She was a Vanderbilt alumnus, and founded the A.B. Hancock Jr. Research Center in 1972 in honor of her husband, who died of cancer. The center was the first named laboratory dedicated to cancer research until the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center was developed in 1993.

Peter A. Kolodziej, Ph.D., assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Kennedy Center Investigator, passed away at his home on March 3 following a brief illness. He was 42.

Dr. Kolodziej earned his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991.

Dr. Kolodziej's research focused on the genetic factors involved in the development of neurons and the trachea.

Holger Kulessa, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, died Aug. 31. He was 40.

Dr. Kulessa had been at Vanderbilt since 1996, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a research instructor in Cell Biology, prior to assuming his Gastroenterology post in 2002. Throughout his career, his research focused on the role of Bmp signaling in gastrointestinal development and disease.

Michael Rodriguez, M.D., who served as associate professor of Medicine for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, died Dec. 21, 2004. He was 53.

Dr. Rodriguez spent most of his career as a busy private practice physician, but turned his focus to teaching medical students in 1997. In less than a decade, he became one of Vanderbilt's most beloved instructors and an asset to the School of Medicine.

At Vanderbilt, Dr. Rodriguez served as director of Minority Affairs from 1998-2002, and until his death was a member of the admissions and academic programs committees. He was one of the first faculty members to be named a Master Clinical Teacher, which is designated based on teaching excellence and is accompanied by funding which encourages the continued pursuit of excellence in teaching.

B.V. Rama Sastry, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, Emeritus, died Feb. 23. He was 77.

Dr. Sastry was born in Andhra, India, and came to the United States in 1956, where he received his M.S. in Pharmacology from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., in 1959 and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in 1962.

Dr. Sastry joined the Vanderbilt faculty as assistant professor of Pharmacology. He served as professor of Pharmacology from 1971-1995 and professor of Anesthesiology from 1989-1995. His broad scholarship in Pharmacology is apparent in the more than 170 papers, reviews and book chapters he penned during his career.

His research focused primarily on the neuropharmacology of the autonomic nervous system and the role of the cholinergic system in non-nervous tissues.