August 2018 News
Molecular Biosciences is deeply saddened by the passing of former Chancellor Del Shankel on July 12, 2018. Del came to KU in 1959 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology (later Molecular Biosciences). Among the faculty he joined in Microbiology were Dr. David Paretsky (former University Distinguished Professor) and Dr. Cora Downs (the first woman to receive a PhD at KU and namesake of the new Downs residence hall). Del was hired to begin research and teaching programs in the area of Microbial Genetics, a new field at the time. Del continued the research he began in graduate school on the effects and prevention of mutations caused by environmental exposures, using bacteria as model systems. The latter part of his research career involved the identification and study of compounds (often plant derived compounds such as those from green tea) that can prevent or reduce the effects of environmental mutagens – an area dubbed anti-mutagenesis. He was an active member of the American Society for Microbiology and the Environmental Mutagen Society for many years, and mentored more than 30 graduate students in their Masters or PhD research in his lab. Del also found great joy in classroom teaching of students, which he continued until his retirement in 1996, and was a strong supporter of undergraduate student research through establishment of the Del and Carol Shankel Biomedical Research Award. Of course, Del is widely known at KU for the many administrative positions he held – 13 positions over the course of his 37 years on the KU faculty, most notably serving twice as chancellor. In 2010, the Shankel Structural Biology Center was named to honor Del’s service to KU. Our sincerest condolences go out to Del’s wife Carol, their two daughters, and everyone whose life he touched. We will miss Del’s counsel, his benevolence, and his humor.
A memorial service will be held on the KU campus on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at 4 p.m. in Woodruff auditorium, Kansas Union, followed by a reception at the Adams Alumni Center. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Del and Carol Shankel Biomedical Research Award at the KU Endowment Association.
Audrey Lamb (professor) served as the organizer of the Power Hour at the Enzymes, Coenzymes, and Metabolic Pathways Gordon Research Conference in Waterville Valley on July 23. The Power Hour is designed to help address the challenges women face in science and support professional growth by providing an open forum for discussion and mentoring.
Andrea Darby joined the Unckless lab as part of KU's PREP Program. Drea joins us from Allen Gibbs' lab at UNLV. She will continue to work on the role of immunity and the microbiome in adaptation to desiccation.