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Susumu Maeda died unexpectedly of natural causes in his sleep on March 26, 1998, in Tokyo, Japan. At the time of his death, he appeared to be in perfect health and was enjoying the fruits of his labors to establish large research laboratories both in the United States and in his native Japan. Susumu was born on April 9, 1950, the second son of Dr. and Mrs. Tsuneo Maeda of Matsumoto, Japan. He spent his youth in the Japanese Alps where he developed a lifelong love of mountain climbing and hiking as well as a deep interest in the natural history of insects. In his youth Susumu also studied the violin under the tutelage of Shinichi Suzuki and developed an intense love of classical music. His given name Susumu means 'to advance or progress.' Following his death he was given the Buddhist name Kenshininshakujyoshin which roughly means 'sincere seeker of knowledge' as a tribute to his lifelong commitment to science. Susumu is survived by his wife Hiroko of Davis and his parents.
Susumu graduated from Matsumoto-Fukashi Senior High School and was accepted to the University of Tokyo where he received his B.S. (1975), M.S. (1978, and Ph.D. (1983). His graduate research in the H. Watanabe laboratory focused on the densonucleosis virus of the silkworm Bombyx mori. In 1978 he accepted a position at Tottori University as an Assistant Professor. He spent one year studying with Yoshinori Tanada at the University of California, Berkeley in 1980 where he met Hiroko Murai who later became his wife. While in the U. S., Susumu also studied in the James and Ellen Strauss laboratories at the California Institute of Technology. Susumu actively taught at Tottori University until 1998 while at the same time commuting to Tokyo for research and internationally as a consultant on transgenic expression for companies involved in pharmaceutical and agricultural research. In 1987 he joined the Zoecon Corporation in Palo Alto, California, where he first expressed and insect neurohormone using a baculovirus and demonstrated that it disrupted insect development. In 1988 he joined the Department of Entomology at Davis, and in 1996 he accepted a concurrent position as Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Entomology and Baculovirology at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) in Wako, Japan. A research appointment at RIKEN is one of the highest honors for a scientist in Japan. With these two laboratories Susumu was poised to see his dreams come true.
The viral diseases of the silkworm, B. mori, first caught Susumu's interest early in his career and this proved a focus for all of his later work. He specialized in the baculovirus of B. mori but worked on several other viruses as well in addition to the basic biology of the silkworm. Production of recombinant proteins like human interferon, development of viral insecticides, basic investigations of apoptosis, fundamental developmental biology, host range, genomics and other projects all emanated from his original theme.
Susumu probably is best known for his development of the B. mori expression system reported in 1985 in the journal Nature. This system is analogous to the similar system developed by Max Summers and Associates at Texas A&M University, but it uses as host the domesticated silkworm, an animal that has been in culture for thousands of years. This expression system opened the door to the inexpensive production of recombinant proteins in mass reared whole insects. This system thus had a great impact on the production of recombinant drugs especially in developing countries. Fundamental science also has benefited greatly from the use of this eucaryotic expression system. An application of the in vivo expression system was realized with the development of the first recombinant viral insecticides. Susumu's laboratory demonstrated the concept that these natural biological control agents could be modified to make them more useful in field and row crop agriculture using B mori and then moved on to develop viruses for the control of the most serious crop pests worldwide. He was involved in the first effort to modify these viruses by expression of neurohormones, insect enzymes and peptide toxins, and before his death the recombinant viruses resulting from his pioneering efforts were in field trial on three continents.
Many aspects of Susumu's research showed tremendous foresight and have an ever-expanding impact on science. However, one of his most noteworthy accomplishments was the total sequencing of the genome of a large DNA virus, the baculovirus of B. mori. Susumu initiated this work in earnest as soon as he arrived at Davis. At the time such an effort was criticized by many as a mindless goal. However, this virus was one of the first organisms to be totally sequenced, and helped usher in the concept of using high throughput sequencing to generate genomic databases. The now common human, crop, pest and other genomic projects attest to Susumu's farsighted approach. At RIKEN he was positioned to undertake a massive project to sequence the entire genome of the silkworm as a model system to study fundamental biology as well as agricultural pest insects. Susumu made extensive use of hypothesis driven science, but he also worked strategically. His project to sequence the genome of the baculovirus of B. mori was expected to lead to a molecular-level understanding of how viruses alter the behavior of their host and the complex biochemical interactions, which determine host range of viruses. Susumu also laid the groundwork through his sequencing projects to address some of the most fundamental questions in modern biology including apoptosis and recognition of self and nonself. It is sad to many of us that the full exploitation of this sequence must fall to others. Thus, a retrospective of Susumu's science illustrates a man who pioneered a technology that positively impacted both medicine and agriculture and also proved a valuable tool in elucidating basic life processes.Susumu was active in many professional organizations including the American Society for Virology, Society for Invertebrate Pathology, Entomological Society of America, American Society for Microbiology and American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Susumu was honored by his colleagues with many awards, but possibly his most cherished occurred when Susumu and Hiroko had an audience with Emperor Akihito of Japan to discuss his research. He was recognized as a rising star of molecular virology in Japan. In both his laboratories in the U.S. and Japan, Susumu utilized advanced techniques in molecular biology to elucidate the intricacies of the interaction of insect viruses with their hosts. During the years that Susumu was a professor at Davis, he trained over 50 scientists who took his teaching throughout the world. His associates are now in Australia, China, Egypt, Japan, India, Israel, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and other countries. He was known among his students as a hard working and enthusiastic scientist who brought inspiration as well as joy to his laboratory. Susumu was a conscientious faculty member, seldom missing a faculty or committee meeting and he worked hard to make Davis a still better intellectual community. The loss of such a vigorous, dynamic and caring scientist had a major impact on his colleagues around the world.A mulberry tree planted in Susumu's honor recalls his first months in Davis when leaves from mulberry trees around the city vanished in the wee hours of the morning to feed his voracious silkworm colonies. In March of 1999 a symposium focusing on the current and future perspectives of baculovirus research was held in his honor at RIKEN and the resulting papers as well as a bibliography of his publications and several tributes are published in the RIKEN Review #22 (June, 1999). There is a great sadness that the University lost one of its brightest stars after little more than a decade. However, Susumu Maeda lived life to the fullest and shared much with his students and colleagues. We are fortunate that this wonderful scientist, mentor, colleague and friend shared this all too brief period with us.
"we understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love"
Bruce D. Hammock
Sean Duffey died suddenly in Davis, California on May 21, 1997 from an embolism precipitated by unsuspected, aggressive, and difficult to diagnose lung cancer. To the last he was unaware that he was ill and was vigorous and active up to the moment of his death. Sean is survived by his wife, Anne; his sons, Brendan and Seth, of Davis; and his parents, Betty and Laurence Duffey of Calgary, Alberta. He was born November 28, 1943, in Toronto and received his bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology and his Ph.D. in botany from the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, the latter in 1974. Following receipt of his doctorate, he spent two years on a NATO/National Research council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Georgia. He joined the faculty of the Entomology Department at the University of California, Davis, in 1976.
Sean's research program focused on chemical ecology and his efforts ranged widely over the interactions involving chemicals, plants, and insects. His first studies were of the cardiac glycosides produced by milkweeds (Asclepiadaceae) and their sequestration by the insects that feed on them. His primary efforts concentrated on the milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus and Lygaeus kalmii, but he also worked with monarch butterflies and milkweed beetles. Among his important discoveries was the fact that a biophysical system was operating in the sequestering of cardiac glycosides. While continuing his research on cardiac glycosides, Sean began an analysis of the remarkable cyanogenic defensive secretions of Polydesmid millipedes. There followed several papers on the biochemistry of HCN production and the production of other defensive compounds in these interesting animals. After arriving at UC Davis, Sean began a long series of brilliant studies on the chemical mechanisms used by plants to fend off attack by insects and various pathogens. This work centered on resistance in tomatoes, and over the years he collaborated with numerous students and colleagues. Studies analyzed the role of numerous chemicals produced by plants, including tomatine, proteinase inhibitors, and various plant oxidative enzymes. Recent studies had included analyses of induced defenses and the interactions of chemicals with the biological agents such as parasitoids and baculoviruses used in various IPM and biological control programs.
A constant theme and frequently emphasized message in Sean's work was the fact that chemical-biological interactions were rarely simple and straightforward. He stressed that in order to understand plant-insect interactions, for example, it was necessary to understand the interactions among plant chemicals, the overall characteristics of the insect's diet, the physiological state of the insect, and the modifiable characteristics of plant and insect. Chemical and biological context and chemical mixture were seen as critical determinants of biological activity: a simple view that natural products functioned merely as "toxins" or isolated defensive factors was often misleading. His was truly interdisciplinary research that included several joint projects with members of the Entomology Department and also with his colleagues in the departments of Nematology, Ecology, and Plant Pathology. We all experienced Sean insisting over and over that interactions are not simple and that one must understand the chemistry, the physiology, and the ecology to really understands interactions between plants, insects, and their pathogens. Sean's legacy is an outstanding record of how to go about studying plant-insect interactions, not just the gathering of data on interactions that occur.
Teaching was always a priority and a passion for Sean, and he was the antithesis of the much-caricatured professor ensconced in an Ivory Tower interested only in research. He taught in some 20 different courses ranging from general education courses aimed at introducing students in the arts and humanities to the wonders of insects to advanced courses for the most sophisticated of graduate students. In these latter courses, the length and breadth of the reading lists were legendary and reflected Sean's incredible range of interest and understanding of insect-plant interactions from the ecology of the insects to the arcana of the most subtle of chemical and physiological reactions. His courses were characterized by constant prodding from Sean to get students to think, to question, and to analyze. He was fiercely analytical himself, and he cajoled, coaxed, and occasionally harassed students to be likewise. He had an uncanny ability to see the potential in each student and to encourage each to do his or her best.
Sean was always extremely popular with his students and his passion for good mentoring matched that for his teaching. He served as Mater Graduate Advisor for the Department and chaired its Graduate policy Committee. His lab was a busy place with undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs from both his and other laboratories carrying out projects. Always approachable, Sean not only advised and directed his own students, but was an inspiration and help to several others from fields as diverse as Toxicology and Anthropology.
Sean's professional activities included membership in several societies and positions on the Editorial Boards of leading journals in his field such as the Journal of Chemical Ecology and Physiological Entomology. He was active in disseminating his research, presenting important invited papers at the International Congresses of Entomology and the Gordon Conferences. He also enthusiastically encouraged his students to present their work, and the later successful careers of many of them reflect this early encouragement. Sean was also fully committed to participating in the governance of the University and chaired or served on many important committees in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the Academic Senate. He was Vice Chairperson of the Department of Entomology at the time of his death and was the Acting Chairperson in 1994-1995. Sean recognized that a Department and a University were not simply the sum of faculty, grants, papers, committees, and courses. Rather he knew that they must be, in the largest sense, an integration of everyone from the lowest of beginning students, to office staffs, to graduates, to postdocs, to technicians, and to faculty. He saw us as a part of a larger community, and his words and deeds affirmed this. It would be hard to imagine anyone more committed to his science, to his teaching, to his department, and to his university. It is one of the wonders of Sean's life that he was equally committed to family and friends.
Never one to let the grass grow, Sean actively pursued outside interests in his "spare time." He was a dedicated runner, putting in several miles most noontimes. He had an intense interest in good music, and the strains of Bach, Mozart, and other masters nearly always emanated from his office. He read widely, often startling colleagues with his depth of understanding of seemingly arcane subjects. When his sons started playing soccer, he immersed himself enthusiastically in the local program, refereeing games and serving as head referee for several years. His garden was a riot of blooming plants, several carefully chosen to attract butterflies and other insects. The number of lives that Sean touched was remarkably revealed at his memorial service where hundreds of mourners overwhelmed the capacity of the church and flowed around the altar, clogged the aisles, and spilled out onto the lawn outside.
Sean will be intensely missed by those of us who were his colleagues. His maturity, wisdom, and intense loyalty will be hard to replace, but his laughter and personal warmth have left a glow. He touched lives in many ways from his flourishing bow as he ushered a member of the office staff through his door to his cheerful greetings in the morning and a hearty wave when he left for home. He made our Department a better place; he made UCD a better campus: he made Davis a better community. And he also made many of us better persons.
There will be two memorials to Sean in the department that will go some small way toward expressing our regard for him. The first is a Graduate Fellowship in Chemical Ecology bearing his name, and the second is a sculpture by local artist Donna Billick to be placed at the entrance to the department.
Finally, Sean's multiple accomplishments and flair for life are perhaps best described in lines from a poem in his memory written by a French postdoctoral:
Tu etais un chevalier de la Science
James R. Carey
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