John C. (Jack) Brown, In Memoriam

Molecular Biosciences is saddened to share that Emeritus Professor John C. (Jack) Brown died on October 9, 2023. Jack was born February 23, 1943, grew up in Alabama, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University. Following service as a Lieutenant in the Navy, he earned a PhD in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and carried out post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.  He began his professional career at the University of Kansas in 1976 in the Department of Microbiology (later Molecular Biosciences), where he remained for 33 years - until his retirement in 2009. Jack’s research at KU focused on autoimmune diseases, and the influence of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) on the immune system, and was funded for many years by the National Institutes of Health. He was also an elected member of the American Association of Immunologists. Jack’s professional service was highly sought at the department, university and broader professional levels and led to his holding (often chairing) a multitude of service positions; including many years of service reviewing manuscripts for numerous journals, grant proposals for the NIH, various committees shaping graduate education at the department and university levels, and serving as Associate Chair of Molecular Biosciences. Jack was also a dedicated educator and touched the lives of many hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students at KU. Throughout his career, his classroom teaching was in the areas of immunology (at undergraduate and graduate levels) and introductory microbiology. He was a six-time nominee and three-time recipient of the Favorite Biology Professor award from graduating classes of biology students. In the 1990s, Jack began a website called “Bugs in the News!” where he posted popular articles explaining microbiology and immunology topics using nontechnical language, most recently explaining the mRNA vaccines developed to protect against COVID. Following his retirement, Jack moved to the Chicago area with his wife Mary Hise. There, Jack coauthored book chapters with Mary, served as a scientific consultant for several companies, enjoyed meeting people, playing music and singing, and spending time with family - especially his three children and five grandchildren. One of his last requests was to make sure all of his friends knew just how much he loved and appreciated their friendships throughout the many beautiful chapters of his life. We offer our sincerest condolences to Jack’s family and all those mourning his loss.  A celebration of his life will be held on January 6th, 2024 from 4:00pm-7:00pm at Arterra Event Gallery, 2161 Quail Creek Dr., Lawrence, KS.