The University Record, April 9, 2001


William R. Mancini

William R. Mancini, assistant professor of pharmacology and member of the Upjohn Center for Clinical Pharmacology, died Feb. 23 at University Hospital after an extended illness. He was born March 1, 1948, in Pawtucket, R.I., and grew up in southeastern Massachusetts. He served as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy, including a tour of duty as a medic in Vietnam. He then received his B.A. from North Adams State College in Massachusetts, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in chemistry and biology. He then worked in cancer drug research with Yung-chi Cheng at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1980.

Mancini began his professional career as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of William Prusoff in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale Medical School. He subsequently joined the research faculty at Yale and then moved to the Department of Pharmacology at the U-M in 1984.

His primary interest was understanding how drugs could be used to kill cancer cells more effectively. For many years, he focused on brain tumor research, and his activities played an important role in bringing several large grants for brain tumor research to the Health System. His research has been supported by multiple grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health.

Mancini lectured in several courses to graduate, medical, pharmacy and nursing students on the subjects of cancer chemotherapy, carcinogenesis and antimicrobial therapy. For almost 15 years, Mancini was co-director of the Pharmacology Graduate Student Seminar course, where he mentored more than 100 graduate students in presenting the results of their research. He served on 15 doctoral committees and was primary mentor for two doctoral students. Mancini worked in the Cancer Center, the Program in Cancer Pharmacology, the Neuro-Oncology Program and the Drug Development Program.

All of the people who worked with Mancini were impressed with how he dealt with the severe, chronic and progressive illness that started to take his breath away some 13 years ago. We all admired how he continued his research and teaching full-time, his demeanor never betraying how ill he was. He was a good listener, who chose his few words wisely, and his opinions were respected by all.

Mancini is survived by his wife, JoAnne Barron; his two daughters, Caitlyn, 14, and Laurynn, 11; his brothers, Richard and Frank; and his sister, Dede, all of Massachusetts. Memorial contributions may be made to the Comprehensive Cancer Center and designated for breast cancer research.

Submitted by the Department of Pharmacology

Fedor Medzihradsky

Fedor Medzihradsky, professor of biological chemistry and of pharmacology in the Medical School, passed away on March 12 after a highly distinguished and productive career as a scientist and educator. He is survived by his wife, Mechthild, and his two children, Sofia and Oliver. He was 69.

Medzihradsky received both his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from the Technische Universitšt in Munich, Germany. He then came to the United States, where he was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, as well as a trainee of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness at Washington University in St. Louis. Medzihradsky joined the U-M faculty in 1969 as an assistant professor of biological chemistry and as director of the biochemistry laboratory in the Upjohn Center for Clinical Pharmacology. He was promoted to associate professor of biological chemistry in 1973, to associate professor of pharmacology in 1975 and to professor in both departments in 1981.

Throughout his career, Medzihradsky was interested in drugs that act in the central nervous system. Most notable was his characterization of drug transport in neuronal and blood cells, as well as his contribution to the understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of opioid action. Recently, the National Institute of Drug Abuse renewed the research grant “Opioid Receptor Mechanisms” for an additional four years. This grant, now in its 12th year, was originally directed by Medzihradsky, who continued to provide consultation on the project.

Medzihradsky served on the editorial board of the journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition and as director and co-director of the Biochemistry Core Facility in the Diabetes Research and Training Center in the Health System. Medzihradsky was an exceptionally dedicated and popular teacher of medical students and served on numerous committees to evaluate and improve the Medical School curriculum. During the course of his tenure, he served as thesis chair for 10 doctoral students and was recipient of the Kaiser Permanente Award for Excellence in Teaching. Medzihradsky was named professor emeritus of pharmacology after retiring in April 1998. He will be remembered with fondness and will be greatly missed by his colleagues and students.

Submitted by the Department of Pharmacology